Lirije Pepa

Prishtina | Date: September 21, 2020 | Duration: 115 minutes

He was Russian, or Serbian, I don’t know, a Pier. We called him Uncle Pier, he was an old photographer. He developed a photograph of mine in a handkerchief, but I lost it, you know. […] He lived in Peja, the master of… they called him so, but he was poor, he looked like a thug, but he was the first photographer at that time, yyyh {onomatopoeic} as far as I know, he was old even back then, let alone… They called him majstor [Serbian – master]  Pero, you know, Master Pero. He loved me a lot, you know, and he developed my photograph in one of those {shows the palm of her hand}, I was surprised how the photograph could come out so, just like they do now, but technique was very primitive, the developing and everything. This is how I learned, generation after generation. 

Often without my father’s knowledge, when someone asked me, ‘Develop my film roll!’ I was scared my father would get angry with me that I did it, because he was very pedantic, and he was afraid I would destroy it, but that’s how I learned, without risking it you could not… for example, we worked a lot with the army. They sat for a picture on Sundays. We had to engrave in the frames of the photographs, ‘Don’t forget me!’ You know they had them with different dedications. You had to use the photocopy machine, we did that for the entire army (laughs), and for all of these processes, different machines were used at that time.

Anita Susuri (interviewer), Renea Begolli (Camera)

Lirije Pepa was born in 1945 in Peja. From early childhood, Mrs. Pepa did photography at her father’s photography studio. From 1965 to 1967, she studied English language and literature at the University of Prishtina. In 1975, she was employed at the Kosovo University Medical Center as a photographer and worked there until her retirement in 2010.