Nicolas Mingasson

Sarajevo is a city of contrasts

French photographer, writer and documentary filmmaker Nicolas Mingasson lives between Paris and Sarajevo, having settled down in the latter with his wife and three children. Sarajevan Nadira Škaljić Mingasson is president of Udružene, a women’s association that preserves BiH handicrafts.


He first visited BiH in 1993 as a photographer during the war, and made many friends during later visits.

- In 1994, one introduced me to his friend, now my wife, Nadira, who fled the war and went to France. She worked in the French fashion industry for years, and, after working with BiH knitters, she wanted to present their products to the world, so she returned to Sarajevo in 2012.

Nicolas decided to turn the story of one Udružene member – a woman whose knitting is a kind of psychotherapy, as well as a way to make a living and have dignity – into a documentary.

People in extreme situations

- The film will talk about the long-term consequences of war, as well as how making things by hand relaxes a person after trauma, taking one from the position of victim to that of worker, teacher and artist.

Interested in stories about people in extreme situations, his work has taken him to Afghanistan, Tibet….

- For years I was a member of an Arctic expedition team, which I presented to the Sarajevo public in 2017 during my photo exhibit, Arctic Sentinels, at the National Museum. People are tired of war themes and like seeing something different, yet I still recommend the Historical Museum and the War Childhood Museum.

Nicolas lives here with his family in between the many trips.

- Kod Bibana is our favorite eatery with a city view. We love charming, intimate places that aren’t crowded, traditional dishes at Hadžibajrić Aščinica, and also Sushi San.

Since so much can be going on in Sarajevo in a small area, he often runs off to nature.

- I love to bike around the gorgeous areas of Umoljani, Lukomir, Konjic….

He’s looking forward to his favorite event, Sarajevo Jazz Fest (Nov. 7-10).

- Jazz Fest is reason enough to visit Sarajevo. Winter is ahead of us, with skiing on Bjelašnica’s terrific lanes, where the atmosphere is much more laid-back than in many other big ski areas.

He sees Sarajevans as strong, warm, relaxed and brilliant, but also feels the sadness of their losses during the Siege of the ‘90s, which has had political and economic ramifications.


Udružene started with ten knitters, and now they have 350 members from all over BiH. The idea of the whole project is to combine modern design with traditional knitting skills, to preserve the knowledge of such techniques by passing them on to new generations and finding a place for these products on the market so that the knitters can be financially independent.

- Sarajevo is a city of contrasts. Beneath the surface, people are sensitive; one moment they’re gentle, the next they’re quite rough. It’s not easy to live non-stop in the Balkans because it’s hard for me to find total peace within the volcano of emotions, so I work in solitude.