“The Best Slovenian Photographers” would translate to “Najboljši slovenski fotografi” in Slovene.
The Cambridge dictionary defines photography as, “the activity or job of taking photographs or filming“, however, to everyone who has ever held a camera in their hands, photography is so much more than just the mere act of creating photos.
It can be a job that pays your bills, a side-hustle to earn some extra money, a hobby to keep you busy, a creative outlet, a meditation, and much more.
Slovenia is a wonderful geographical mix of elements. There’re sea and karst in the southwest, mountains and pristine nature in the north and northwest, great plains in the east, and untouched forests in the northeast and south; everything available to us, photographers, within a 2-hour drive. What more could a landscape photographer ask for?
Photographers in this article are not listed in any meaningful order.
(Note that this list of The Best Slovenian Photographers is not complete. More photographers will be added in the future.)
If you feel like you deserve to be on this list, send me an email to [email protected] along with your portfolio (Instagram profile also works).
Disclaimer: all photos were posted with permission. Photo quality and resolution were reduced to improve user experience.
Professional Slovenian Photographers
Professional photographers are either full-time photographers who make a living taking photos or have achieved great success in photography over the years. These are the photographers that shape Slovenian photography community and contribute to worldwide recognition of our little country.
Jaka Ivančič is one of the most famous Slovenian landscape photographers. Although he’s based in the Primorska region, his work features photos from all parts of Slovenia – from Gorenjska to Kočevje, and from Primorska to Štajerska.
His photos are uncluttered and well-thought-out, which gives them a sense of calmness and orderliness. Through photography, Jaka realized how much industrialization and colonization of our planet hinder great views and push out the intimacy of nature, which is the reason he fights to preserve Slovenian nature, and why his philosophy regarding nature and photography speaks to me on a fundamental level.
His outstanding achievements put Jaka on the top of this list. He was listed 1st among the Slovenian TOP 10 Instagram photographers of 2019. He was also ranked 8th by the Oneeyland WORLD’S TOP 10 Landscape photographers of 2019 and listed as one of the best landscape photographers of 2018 by National Geographic. The most notable of his achievements is the 1st place on IPA, in category Architecture, Bridges in 2019.
Jaka was named as the first Ambassador of the Debeli Rtič Landscape Park. Jaka also participated in several photography exhibitions, such as Expo in Milano 2015, Experience Istria, and Experience Slovenia (in Netherlands, Moscow, and Ljubljana).
Jošt Gantar, an award winning professional photographer, is an outdoor enthusiast who criss-crosses Slovenia on a daily basis. His works were published in hundreds of Slovenian and foreign publications, catalogues, and books, for example on the cover of the official Slovenian tourist catalogue and in National Geographic. His works were exhibited on many exhibitions, amongst others also in the United nations palace in New York.
As an author he enjoys landscape photography the most, but works in many fields of professional photography, especially in the field of tourism – photographing destinations and hotels. He is also Marriott hotels certified photographer.
Aleš Krivec was born December 12, 1981, in Jesenice. After the bachelor’s degree as a computer engineer, he continued a career as a programmer and web designer.
He’s a self-taught photographer of 5 years. The need for images as a WordPress designer, pushed him to tackle photography from a different angle than most photographers do. He started shooting on demand, which worked well for him since he had a clear goal of what he needed. Success came to him unexpectedly but it gave him a boost to start exploring nature.
He has participated in several domestic and international exhibitions and competitions. In 2017, he became the winner of the magazine Digitalna kamera (Štirje letni časi) competition. At the Sony World Photography Awards 2018, two of his photographs were selected in an open competition in the Landscape and Nature category. The shot of the skaters in the fog on Lake Bled ranked among the top 10 in the world, for the second, Pod goro (Under the mountain), which shows a lightning storm, he received special praise. Last year, he became the winner of the renowned international NATURE competition, organized by the Grča s Kočevje photography association.
Luka Esenko is a leading landscape and nature photographer from Ljubljana. He’s an avid traveller who loves spending time travelling and in nature, which are his two biggest passions.
He started leading photography tours and organizing workshops back in 2008. His business enabled him to collaborate with world renowned photographers, such as Jonathan Chritchley, Sean Bagshaw, Jeremy Woodhouse, Deborah Sandidge, Marc Muench, Joe Van Os, John Shaw, Daniel Cox, Jim Zuckerman and Tom Bol, to name a few.
His work has been featured in books, photography magazines, travel guides, online media, and in National Geographic.
His geeky side and love for gadgets led him to co-founding PhotoHound, an online community and app, which helps you find amazing photography spots.
Peter Gedei (1969), born and living in Ljubljana, embarked on the path of cave photographer soon after joining Ljubljana’s caving club Železničar in 1987. After spending several years gaining experience primarily as an explorer of the subterranean world, in the early 1990s he began to devote increasing attention to cave photography.
Over the years he has perfected his lighting technique and creative approach, and was awarded on several occasions with the highest accolades at Slovenian and international competitions. He has earned a reputation as one of the best world-renowned cave photographers who is set to tackle even the most challenging projects.
He regularly publishes his photographs in Slovenian and foreign printed media, presents stories about his cave visits, and in recent years is also involved in social media. Besides being actively engaged in stereo photography and video, he is a member of the Stereoscopic Society of Ljubljana, co-founder of the production group Place3D, and long-time editor of Jamar (Caver) magazine. Gedei works as a designer at the monthly magazine Monitor.
There are several more professional photographers who did not have time to introduce themselves to this post but deserve to be mentioned anyway.
- Matej Vranič used to be a fantastic wildlife photographer but has now turned to documentary movies, advertisement, and promotional videos.
- Andrej Tarfila won the Sony World Photography Awards in the Travel category. He works in the areas of press, sport, events, and landscape, always trying to find and expose hidden messages that would otherwise be invisible to the eyes of ordinary observers.
- Dan Briški specializes in mountain-landscape, wildlife, and outdoor-sports photography. Most of his photos are taken in the Alps, where he spends most of his time searching for outstanding views.
- Iztok Medja has achieved the 1st place on IPA 2019, Curators section and a Gold Prize in Moscow International Photo Awards 2019.
Up-and-coming Slovenian photographers
Slovenia is full of photographers who are just starting out but already create outstanding photos. There are also photographers who are good artists but are limited by their equipment, reach, and time.
In this category of Up-and-coming photographers, you’ll find mostly hobbyists and amateurs who are struggling to prove themselves to Slovenia and the world.
Friends would describe Jurij as a person who is always ready to help. He strives to inspire others to achieve happiness in life through their passion. He is an unusual mix of someone who adores the numbers and at the same time possesses an unremitting desire to create, whether it be the creation of products, adventures or new relationships. Jurij comes from Kočevje, Slovenia, he’s got college degree in economics and works in the field of project management. Although he loves sports, photography became his passion, specially the drone photography.
His eye is attracted mostly by unspoilt nature, especially places that seem nothing special at first glance. His aim is to create stories through the lens of a drone that encourage people to consider the relationship we have with nature. He trains his imagination to forget about limits. In his opinion inspiration can strike from any place, you just need to look through the window or stop your car.
His main focus is to visit and shoot as many less-known places in Slovenia as possible. Through photography he learnt how little he actually knows his own country, so he still finds himself admiring views Slovenia has to offer.
“Love for the photography from the bird’s view was born years ago”, he says. “It reveals the views and details that are often missed from the ground.” From his own experience this kind of photography and a different perspective can shift the view of the world for us.
He is still amazed on a daily-basis by any, even the most unimpressive elements in nature – the elements that can become incredibly attractive if we only shift our perspective a little bit. “Re-discovering the already known and constant curiosity, the urge to discover the unknown gives us the greatest power. We just have to allow it to come to us”, he adds.
Jurij’s photo gear:
- Nikon D7200
- Nikon D810
- Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5
- Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8
- Tamron 24-70 mm f/2.8
- Sigma 50 mm f/1.8
- Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8
- Dji phantom 4& dji phantom 4 adv, polar pro ND/PL filters
Aljaž Žnidaršič started as a landscape photographer. Being an active hiker and mountaineer he has always wanted to share spectacular views with others. Soon, he started receiving requests for portraits, birthday parties, christianings, and weddings. He has also started organising his very own photography courses and tours, where he teaches about landscape and mountain photography. In the future, he’d like to start working in video production.
Aljaž’s photo gear:
- Nikon d750 (previous)
- Fujifilm XT-4
- 16-55 mm f/2.8
Jernej Peljhan is a 33 years old born nature-addict. Since long time ago, as long as he can remember, he wanted to touch, smell, hold, feel, and observe marvelous nature that surrounds us, thus, he took his classes in forestry, in both, secondary school and university.
Having this ideal opportunity to make a living from a forest and being outdoor in nature almost constantly, sparked his desire to buy a camera in the April of 2017. Ironically enough, his first photography steps were taken in an urban environment, but he has ever since searched for motives that scale from minimalistic nature environments, plants, occasional animals to the vast landscape. Jernej admits that he too often shares photos from foreign countries, but nonetheless, he never took a trip or went to travel without his camera with him. He jokingly says, “best sunrises, sunsets and rainbows only happen when I’m at home, anyway”.
“Where do I see myself in a few years from now on, you ask?”, Jernej giggled. “Definitely with lots more experiences while trying to chase the best light, anywhere on this planet!”
Jernej’s photo gear:
- Nikon D5600 camera
- Sigma 18-35mm
- Nikon 18-140
- Hoya polarizers and filters
- Cullman MUNDO tripod.
Dejan Stanič is a 24 years old mechanical engineer in the field of aviation from Koroška Bela. He’s also a private licensed pilot with the goal of becoming a professional pilot. Photography has long been his passion.
He first started by taking photos of trips with his smartphone. As photography became more and more interesting to him, he started taking pictures with the compact camera they had in the family, when he was around 21 years old. He quickly started learning by shooting in manual mode. That’s when he discovered a whole new aspect of photography and soon bought his first camera – Nikon D3500 – the one he still uses to take photos.
He has been actively photographing for approximately 2 years. During this time, he learnt a lot about photography and photo equipment. He mostly photographs nature and landscapes because he has always admired the nature and the terrain of our planet, which also led to enthusiasm about astro and wildlife photography.
In the future, he would want to capture as many memorable moments as possible and immortalize them. He plans to buy a Full Frame camera to make his photos even cleaner.
“Photography is my favorite hobby and I learn a lot from it”, he says Not only about photography but also other life qualities such as patience, perseverance, etc.
Dejan’s photo gear:
- Nikon D3500
- Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6
- Nikon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6
- Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6
- Nikon 35mm f 1.8
- Tamron 150-600 mm f5-6.3 lens
Simon Zupan comes from Blejska Dobrava. He first started photographing about 10 years ago when he started recording short videos for YouTube. Ever since, he has been fascinated by how moment or a memory can be captured forever, although we can often forget about it. He didn’t shoot much with his compact camera, and he soon ran out of ideas, thus, temporarily giving up on photography.
He got back into photography when his mother bought a beginner DSLR – Nikon D3200 – the camera that ended up being his. However, he rarely took photos because he didn’t have any photography knowledge at all.
The world of photography opened up to Simon in 2019 when he received his very first regress, so he could afford a new Nikon D7500 DSLR with Nikkor 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens and Nikkor 70-300mm f4.5-6.3 zoom lens. He started spending all his free time learning about different photography techniques, he stopped shooting in AUTO mode and always used MANUAL mode, and turned to the RAW image format instead.
All that contributed to ever-improving photos, which increased his interest in shooting even more, with which a desire for new equipment arose. He soon bought 3 more lenses.
In the future, he hopes to have luck with weather conditions but he also wants to be more committed to shooting portraits and events, because ever since he has started, capturing memories has been something most beautiful to him.
Simon’ sphoto gear:
- Nikon D7500
- Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6
- Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3
- Nikkor 35mm f/1.8
- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
- Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8
Nina Lozej is a biologist, photographer, and traveller.
She started with photography 10 years ago, when she wanted to capture the beauty of nature. Although photography is just a hobby to Nina, she’s constantly trying to improve her photography skills such as location scouting and predicting weather, and learn how to make photos tell a story.
Nina likes sharing her work with everyone that enjoys beautiful landscapes and discussing different views of photography with other photographers.
Nina’s photo gear:
- Canon EOS 6D mark II,
- Canon EF 50 mm F/1,8 STM,
- Canon EF 16-35 mm F/4L IS USM,
- Canon EF 70-200 mm F/4 L USM,
- Canon EF 100 mm F/2.8 L MACRO IS USM,
- DJI Mavic Air drone,
- GoPro Hero 5,
- Tripod, filters, remote timer, camera bags.
Špela Šinkar is a 21-year-old photography and hiking lover. She recognised her love for photography at an early age when she received her first digital camera. She took it with her everywhere she went and tried to photograph as much as possible, to record as many memories as possible so that she could remember them as accurately as possible later in life.
She soon switched to the ‘beginner’ DSLR, Nikon D3200, which served her well and helped her get to know this hobby better. At that time, she also began to learn about photo editing in her favorite programs: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.
Later, when she started to travel more, she found that she would rather have something smaller and more convenient – something to fit in her pockets. Since she didn’t intend to do photography professionally and it was more for her soul, she opted for the Olympus PEN E-PL9 mirrorless camera, with a 14-42mm lens, which she uses the most to this day. She takes it with her on practically every tour.
It was only when she started rock climbing that she realized that photographing landscapes was the closest to her. From the very beginning, she was amazed by the beauty of Slovenia and so it became her goal to capture as many of these beauties and then share them with people on social networks, as she believes that many citizens are not even aware, what a beautiful homeland they live in. She also hopes to convince others to go to nature.
Peter Črnčec is a landscape and adventure photographer, genres of photography that couple well with his love for hiking in nature.
Peter started photographing out of desire to capture nature’s beauty. He doesn’t have any goals set for his photography, it’s all about the journey to him, which always offers new perspective to his adventures.
He hopes to introduce people to his way of seeing nature.
MItja Robič comes from the Gorenjska region – arguably the most beautiful part of Slovenia. He coupled photography with his hobbies that include hiking, ski touring, climbing, and other adrenaline sports.
The time he has left after his job and after taking care of his child, Mitja uses to shoot. He uses his photos to accurately depict the scenery that he actually saw.
Mitja’s photo gear:
- Nikon D5100
- Nikkor 18-105mm
- Sigma 70-300mm
Primož’s photo gear:
- Sony a7III
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro
- 20mm f/1.8
- 70-200mm f/4.0
Other great up-and-coming photographers who didn’t have the time to introduce themselves, yet still deserve being mentioned.
- Amadeja Knez
- Peter Zajfrid
- Eva Grabner
- Gregor Skoberne
- Luka Ploj
- Fahrudin Seferagić
Matic Broz (Yours trully)
Growing up I recall borrowing my father’s first digital camera. We only used it to document our family trips or events, yet this now almost ancient device had the best macro lens I have ever came across. It was capable of taking sharp images from virtually point-blank.
The combination of this extraordinary spec, my new-found passion for photography, and love for flowers, resulted in a couple of thousand shots of snowdrops, primroses (hint: not that photogenic, at least with my skills) and fruit trees’ blossoms. Needless to say that these photos were awful, however, in the eyes of a curious 8-year old who just discovered a new perspective by crawling on all fours, photographing flowers from bellow, and with a sprinkle of cheers from my parents, photography became a beloved newfound hobby.
Over the years my interest in photography fluctuated, but never completely faded away. For the 13th birthday, I received my first camera, Nikon Coolpix, however, I still knew nothing about photography – I just wanted to take photos. My zeal for photography manifested itself in the form of countless photos of dogs I took when visiting a nearby dog-shelter with my sister. Although it was a great camera, a couple of years later phone cameras became somewhat relevant and more convenient, since we always carried them around.
All through my late teens and early twenties, my interest in photography went south, due to college schoolwork and student work.
As I matured, I realized, that despite all my obligations I still had plenty of time that could be spent more effectively. I borrowed my father’s new camera, Canon EOS 60D with a multipurpose lens, started waking up early for foggy sunrises or canceling afternoon socializing over a beer to catch a fiery sunset.
As I started taking photos on a daily basis, I realized how clueless I really was about photography. The number of buttons, menus, settings on my camera, and sliders in Lightroom overwhelmed me. I cleared my head and started systematically learning about photography. I started watching a whole lot of YouTube videos, I borrowed a few books, and most importantly – I took lots of photos.
Over the years, I accumulated a lot of photography knowledge. My photos became better, my workflow smoother, my photo-editing better, yet, it was not enough.
When I finished my Master’s Degree in Chemistry (yes, my primary occupation is a chemist/student) and started my Ph.D. in Biomolecular Simulations, the desire to give back the knowledge I hoarded, pushed me into creating a website – Otterreviews.
This post is intended to serve as a comprehensive list of all Slovenian photographers. To keep up with that promise, it will be continuously updated.