Dragutin Staničić is 59 and lives in Zagreb. He is among the very few ferrofanatics who work for the railway, and has done so for four decades now, in the Signalling and Telecommunication Devices Sector in Zagreb.
Since the mid-1970s, he has been heavily involved in photography, and over a period of years has made tens of thousands of photographs and diapositives. Possibilities and creativity offered by photography of the new digital era are unimaginable. Almost every targeted photo safari results in hundreds of new motives and lots of GB storage space on hard disks every year. His approach to photography is not artistic, but rather documentary.
“This is my motto: photography captures a moment of the present and the truth– and tomorrow it will be history. That is why we should follow and record what is going on around us today and tomorrow, both for us and those who come after! It is great to follow infrastructure projects, major overhauls of lines, modernization of existing systems or construction of new ones, renewal of stations and other facilities. It is interesting to be present during the design of new trains, their testing and monitoring in regular traffic, but also to enjoy nature in a special way under various weather conditions, waiting to catch passing trains from unusual angles. Of course, during several years of following events on and around the railway, I can also recall sad events connected with railway and level crossing accidents, suicides…”, Dragutin said.
He likes to share his travels with friends who like big and small trains, so Siniša, Berislav, Nenad, Zoran, Robi and Goran traversed thousands of kilometres together in the country and abroad… and they have shared the joy of what they have seen and recorded with similar enthusiasts across the world via email and social networks.
Among many covered subjects, the most significant ones were documentary photography connected with the life and work on the railway. So far, he has participated in several thematic exhibitions and his photographs were published in numerous magazines, books, promotional materials in Croatia and in Europe. Many photographs were given to and stored at the Croatian Railway Museum and will be considered “real“ history, even in 100 years.
Dragutin has also been a member of the Railway Modellers’ Club since its foundation in 1969! For several decades, he has taken part in club activities, making of models, participated in gatherings, exhibitions in Croatia and neighbouring countries. Among many models of various railway administrations at HO 1:87 scale, a major part of the collection consists of locomotive models and wagons of railways in Croatia. At a specially designed garden space in Zagreb’s Selska street, a private railway runs in a circle at a 1:22.5 scale. Among models in the garden, there is a ĐĐ JŽ 740 series locomotive, which operated on a narrow-gauge line to Dubrovnik. He keeps upgrading his garden railway model with new “infrastructure and transport capacities”, and faces the same challenges that “big railways” have such as snow, ice and wind. His personal enemies, however, are the neighbour’s cats who like to snooze on some parts of the model, and shut down traffic, very often knocking over small wagons and plants in the process…
At his place, Dragutin keeps many souvenirs from Croatia’s railway past hidden. He has a very large railway library, collection of stamps, envelopes suited to the occasion, and hundreds of postcards and other memorabilia.