Monday, April 17, 2017

The Evolution of 'Geography of Tenderness' & Why Participating in it Will Brighten up Your Day

Still frame from one of the episodes

Let me ask you a question: When I say 'childhood', what's the first thing that comes to your mind?

Simplicity? Laughter? Family? Love? Toys?

Yes, our old and favourite toys.
Those little objects that in our eyes were never just an object but a little living creature instead. A friend to be exact. A bonus family member who played with us, listened to all of our fears / worries and stories, someone who went on numerous adventures with us and helped us learn more about loving, caring and fearing for someone special.

We all had them while we were growing up.

Teddy bears, rabbits, dolls, cars, blankets etc.
Some of them were lost due to various life circumstances, some of them fell apart because they were loved just a little too much and some of them are still in our lives with an extremely precious status - the older our favourite toy gets, the more priceless it becomes.

And that's what our documentary series 'GEOGRAPHY OF TENDERNESS' focuses on and searches for.

Still frame from one of the episodes
Related post: Breaking news: Geography of Tenderness is here!

We're digging deeper into our most precious memories from growing up and telling stories about what it means to have a beloved toy in our life, what we did together, where it came from, what childhood looked like when we were kids as opposed to what it looks like now, what that toy means to us and what memories it evokes in our hearts and mind.

What my two little panda bears have to do with it?


The whole project started many years ago when I became interested in photographing old and abandoned toys on the street. Seeing them thrown in trash or left somewhere on the ground made me feel incredibly sad, mostly because of the way I feel about my favourite toys - two little legendary panda bears I got pretty much when I was born and I guard them with my life - and I couldn't comprehend why someone would throw away a perfectly good toy that most definitely had some emotions attached to it.

If nothing, there's so many kids around who unfortunately don't have the 'luxury' of having a little stuffed friend to accompany his or hers daily wanderings so if you really have some toys that you no longer need or have no space for them in the house - why wouldn't you donate them to the ones who would be so happy to have a little friend?

And that's when the idea started to form in my mind.

I looked at my panda bears and wondered how many similar stories are there in the world or are there any at all? Am I perhaps the only one 29 year old weirdo who cherishes her old toys more than literally anything she ownes? I decided to investigate this phenomenon a bit and what better way to start than with my friends and family.

Still frame from one of the episodes

One of my dearest cousins has a toy that she loves more than anything.
My best friend adores hers one as well.
My mum has a gorgeous old teddy bear.
My dad has wonderful memories of his enormous yellow bear as well.
My sister is madly in love with her entire freaking Disney family.

And that was just the beginning.

I started shooting portraits of people with their favourite toys and every single person shared a little story about them afterwards. Those words accompanied the photos. That project was called 'Forever, your teddy bear' and it got two rounds.

First one was shot outdoors when I was basically learning how to shoot a proper portrait (I'm not ashamed of it - we're all a work in progress) and the second one became the subject of my masters degree and was shot in a studio and I can't even begin to describe how much I enjoyed working on those photos and meeting all the incredible people that have decided to share their stories with me.

Still frame from one of the episodes

But since primarily I'm a director and a screenwriter, from day one I wanted to make a documentary film about the topic because that's what I'm most passionate about. I brainstromed a ton, talked with literally everyone who wanted to listen, gathered ideas and tried to find a proper and the best way to do it and make it open for everyone to participate - from all over the world.

Soon we ditched the movie idea and decided to focus on a series instead.

And a few months ago, after a roller coaster ride regarding the project, we said 'Lets's broadcast it through Youtube.' and here we are, with first five episodes filmed and waiting to be edited and uploaded while so many new stories are patiently waiting to become a part of this growing 'Geography of Tenderness' family.

Why should you participate?


First of all - every story is welcomed and encouraged. There's no little or big story, there are only emotions and memories and we always handle them with care.

Some of you expressed their worry because throughout the years you've lost your toys or something has happened to them - but if you still remember them, it's a story worth telling so of course you can hop onboard.

Others worry that their toys look too destroyed and not representative enough - but that's actually so amazing because it means you loved them a ton and there's literally no way to hide it :)

Still frame from one of the episodes

And then there are some of you guys who believe that you don't have a story to tell - but we all do. Stop and think a bit - what did you play with when you were younger, what's that one thing that you loved more than others - I'm sure it will all come right back to you in a heartbeat.

Plus: the entire filming process is super fun and will without a doubt brighten up your day.

But what if the camera scares you?


I really wouldn't worry about this one because we're here to help. Everyone feels a bit awkward around that feared device at first but that's the reason why we don't start filming the very second we see each other. There's a lot of talking and laughing before, I always answer every single question you might have and every time the filming goes amazingly well.

Still frame from one of the episodes

And also, there's just two of us around you - me and the cameraman (who happens to be my boyfriend btw and is a super amazing human being) and both of us have been in a business of professional filmmaking for years and years and years. So you see, there's really nothing to worry about and there's always a lot of behind the scenes photos afterwards to look forward to as well.

So yeah, this post is slowly turning into a novel so this is where I'll stop for today, cheers to you because you've made it to the end!

Next round of 'Geography of Tenderness' filming will be in ZAGREB from 25.04. - 01.05. so if you would like to join the project - please let me know in the comments or on Facebook, Instagram or through good old mail (matea.photography@gmail.com).

Still frame from one of the episodes
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8 comments

  1. I read absolutely everything because the post was turning more and more interesting!
    I swear, on Saturday I was cleaning my room and getting rid of things that I don't need anymore and I found This Bubbles doll(the powerpuff girls) and I barely cried. I've had it for like 20 years now and I just refuse to get rid of it! I think it's because I still remember the way my dad gave it to me for Christmas that it is so special. He knew The Powerpuff Girls was my favorite cartoon and that moment was so special. I think that's exactly why I read all your post! First: I just love your blog and second: it really touched my heart for what happened on the weekend, so perfect timing...
    sorry is this comment it's too long. I would love to be on The series but I live in another country, but I still wanted to share that with you!
    I might do a post about Bubbles on my blog! I really was touched when I found her!!
    Can't wait to watched the series!! I'm excited!!


    http://www.lo-89.com

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    1. Aww Lorena, thank you so much for reading the entire article and for leaving such a beautiful comment, you made my day! And don't ever get rid of you Bubbles doll (she always was my favourite Powerpuff as well!), especially when there's such a lovely story connected to it and who knows maybe someday soon we'll be able to fly to Spain and film your story for the project! :)) Thanks once again and I honestly hope you'll love the series! xx

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  2. U pravu si, ponekad je i priča dovoljna jer u samom priči leži taj potencijal očuvanja same igračke i svega što je značila. Divno si ovo napisala, a vidim da se ovaj projekt stalno razvija u nešto novo....i to je prava evolucija.

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    1. Puno ti hvala...uff jednom ćemo se napričati uživo o ovom projektu, testirao mi je živce kao ništa dosad i konstantno je trnovit i težak, ali toliko nam je prirastao srcu da se ne damo i ne odustajemo bez obzira na sve prepreke koje nam se nađu na putu (a vjeruj mi, ima ih na bacanje haha).

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  3. I can't wait for the episodes to be up on YouTube! xx

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    1. Can't wait to show them to you, hope you'll like them!! xx

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Thank you so much for all your lovely comments :)

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