Prince Michael of Yugoslavia, is an investment executive, socialite, philanthropist and avid photographer. His grandmother was Princess Olga of Greece.
Formerly a real estate broker, Prince Michael is a member of the House of Karađorđević and a Prince of Yugoslavia as a patrilineal descendant of Alexander Karađorđević, Prince of Serbia.
Greek City Times recently spoke to Prince Michael to learn more about his interesting life so far.
Guide us through your childhood years.
I was born in Boulogne near Paris and lived in Versailles until I was 21. I studied at the European Business School which was in Paris, London and Frankfurt.
After your graduation from the European Business School Paris, did you follow the profession of your studies or did photography fascinate you more?
After graduation, I worked briefly in Paris and then went to the US where I was a real estate broker in Palm Beach Florida for 10 years. I then went into a finance company in New York which made me travel a lot between New York and Europe. For the past 10 years, I have lived in Europe once more.
When I was 17, I used my pocket money to buy a camera and enjoyed taking photographs, it was for pleasure and I didn’t think of it as a business.
What is photography to you - a hobby or a craft?
It started as a hobby and then it quickly turned into a passion. When I walk with my camera and I look at a certain subject, I feel an emotion and I want to transpose that emotion through the camera onto a picture.
What kind of photographs do you take?
The type of photography I do is mostly landscape and I have two themes. I have a naturalistic view from which I take images and leave them that way; and then I’m working on a series called the Coat of Arms and territorial identity in which I superimpose on the photos the Coat of Arm of its region or of the ruling family.
I am fond of heraldry, from birth. I see the counties through their Coats of Arms. With the curator Gilles Bastianelli, we created the cycle “Territories and Coats of Arms”.
Coats of Arms, let us remember, have been an identification system since the time when recognition did not occur through writing. Their contemporaries are emoticons, smileys, simple and universal geometric symbols, capable of instantly translating an infinity of speeches, ideas and feelings.
“Territories and Coats of Arms” consists of bringing together the same image, a landscape and its Coat of Arms appearing in a reflective line. In other words, a territory in the light of the geometric and emblematic language of its Coat of Arms.
Thanks to a mirror effect, the outline of the coat of arms embedded in the landscape reflects the environment of the work and its observer. According to a principle of op art, the landscape becomes mobile, where only the gaze is enough to set the work in motion.
"Man In The Mirror" is a global hit by Michael Jackson whose universal lyrics sum up the concept.
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror,
I’m asking him to change his ways.
And no message could have been any clearer.
If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change!”
Over the past three years, the works have been selected by contemporary photo festivals in South Korea and China, far from my social sphere.
What makes a great leader?
A great leader is someone who can be loved by his people and feared by his enemies. Also, he can be just with his people and tough with his enemies. A great leader is someone who wants the good of his country and knows how to gather the right advisers around him.
Our society has reached to a bottleneck, how do you think this could change and under which regime?
You say that society has reached a bottleneck I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Societies have always been like this for thousands of years. Nothing has changed much.
Look at the Greeks, look at the Romans, look at the Egyptians, look at our history. There is always a continual renewal with new things, new ideas and changes so I’m not worried about our society. It looks like there’s always an evolution.
I’m going to ask you a cheeky question: “Are you ever going to be a king?” Based on the Royal Succession Bills and Acts what are the procedures and customs?
No, I’m not going to be a king. Normally when you are the other son of a king you become the king but in my family, the last kings were on the grandfather's side so there are a lot of people in between me and different thrones so that will not happen.
What roles do fate and fortune play in human life?
Fate and fortune play a role in human life. We are very lucky, I am very lucky to be born in Europe, in a free society. We say that being at the right place at the right time makes a big difference. I agree with that.
I would like to know about your contribution to charity.
With my photography, I help many different charities and I donate photos to charity events. I also participate in some of them.
What are some of your future plans and collaborations?
I am preparing a couple of exhibitions this year on the photography side. They will be in Portugal and Serbia and maybe in Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
Photography is an integral part of everyday life. We can even say that its excessive presence leads us to no longer see it, since it dwells so much in our environment.
Images have indeed the power to replace reality because they are beacons, totems scattered in time that move in one direction from the past to the future.
Make a wish.
My wish is for the war in Ukraine to stop.