A story of how I became a photographer

It was a hot summer day back in my home town in Croatia.  The operation Storm was at its full effect. Hundreds, maybe thousands of civilian refugees were going past our house in a hurry. My mother told me to pack only necessities.  We could not wait any longer. It was our time to go.  I packed one bag with a few articles of clothing and filled the rest with family photo albums. I thought, everything else can be replaced but photographs can't.  Behind we left everything, including our family dog Oga and my grandmother who was too old to embark on such a treacherous trek.
We cramped into our car and moved very slowly amongst lines of cars, trucks, buses and tractors. It took us almost 3 days to reach the Bosnian border, a trip that would normally take about 2 hours.  Once we got near a bridge connecting to Bosnia, we were told to leave our cars and run for cover.  I took my only bag and ran.  Soon, I realized that I had to maneuver through the onslaught of bullets and grenades, run even faster and duck for cover.  I simply could not carry my bag no longer.  As my hand grew tired, I released and dropped the only material link I still had to the life I was leaving behind.  I didn't know it at a time, but at that precise moment when my hand gave out, I became a photographer.

I was right, everything was replaced (new country, new life, a career) but those lost photographs of my childhood never were.