17 October 2019 – 16 February 2020
Nace Bizilj was born on 27 january 1944 in Gameljne under the Šmarna gora Hill and he is one of the most renowned Slovenian photojournalists of the 20th century. As a trained photographer, at the age of eighteen he photographed Leonid Brezhnev at Cekin Castle in Ljubljana and at the age of twenty-four he photographed Josip Broz Tito in Lower Carniola. He began his career in 1962 at the renowned company Foto Slovenija and continued in 1968 at the Dnevnik Newspaper. As a photojournalist and long-time editor of photography, he spent forty years visualizing people, space and time, from the elite to everyday people, from politics to sports and culture, from historical milestones to side events in history.
The period of Slovenia’s political spring, the transformation from socialism to democracy and the fulfilled will of the nation for plebiscite with the independence of Slovenia have an honorable place in Nace Bizilj’s career. It was his golden period of photojournalism, which he named “Spring shine”. After Slovenian independence, Bizilj’s career was far from over, instead it awakened to new challenges, which he implemented with the satirical column in Newspaper Dnevnik column “Photography does not lie”. He shared his passion for traveling around the world with readers of the newspaper Nedeljski dnevnik, for which he published photo reportage and so also enthralled the readers with his writing. In 2003, he retired and said farewell to the relentless pace of daily creation of journalistic photography and, a few years later, he decided to face a new challenge. In 2010, he donated his entire opus with 300,000 black and white and colour negatives of photographs to the Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia. He swapped the camera for a magnifying glass and a light table and he edited the opus documentation weekly at the Museum. Photo reels of negatives that were hidden for decades were unfolded, edited, documented and gained new meaning. By interpreting individual photographs and listing thousands of names and events, he also complemented the richness of a nationally important photographic heritage.