Albania 2010 – 2012

Andreas Pein

Although a country’s history is certainly not comparable to another one’s, i couldn’t help but notice a few similarities. Infact, Albania evoke well‐known, almost forgotten feelings within me. Not only because i was born and raised in the former socialistic East‐Germany, also due to a sort of numb feeling, still noticeable as an impact of the harsh dictatorship in Albania. I guess it have been these feelings i was trying to make visible. But aside all subjects i was trying to photograph in Albania, to me, these pictures have unexpectedly become a visualization of memories and feelings of my own past.

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Group Project: ALBANIA

What happens in Albania? The former closed Communist country with its long undiscovered coastline and spectacular Alpine interior retains an air of mystery in the midst of familiar old Europe. Albania is the close neighbour of Italy and Greece but, despite the fall of the Iron Curtain 20 years ago, has kept its secrets from us for too long.

This exhibition combines the work of six photographers based in Berlin, who for three years have been regularly exploring Europe’s least-known nation. They have immersed themselves in its unique and complex society successively moulded by the long period of Ottoman rule, the autocratic grip of communism and today by the excitement of emerging as a new democracy into modern Europe.

The idea of the project was to create a picture diary of a nation familiar by name but whose lifestyle, whose people and whose dreams are only slowly revealing themselves. Each of the photographers has followed his own unique approach to tell an unfolding story of discovery through images and other media.

This long-term project could never produce a straightforward narrative or even a journalistic documentation of a place as intriguing as Albania. Instead we offer six essays that build into a mosaic to capture what we found in a land just a short way away, but far from familiar.