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Marco Kesseler December 19, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Albania.
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On the walls of Krujë, Albania 2012

Marco Kesseler (b. 1989, England) is a young documentary photographer with a focus on long term, in depth studies relating to social and political issues most recently in The Balkans and the Middle East. Marco graduated in 2012 with a First Class Honours Degree in (BA) Press & Editorial Photography from Falmouth University . Since completing his degree Marco has been the 2013 recipient of The IdeasTap Photographic Award for work documenting life under the dictatorship in Belarus. In 2012 he exhibited work at The National Portrait Gallery, London, and the New York Photo Festival, which followed his project about the ongoing blood feuds of Albania.

About the Photograph:

“I had been living in Albania for a couple of months working on a story about the traditional laws of blood feuds, which allows the revenge of blood in a like for like manner. Part of the tradition states that people cannot be killed on their own land, I had been living in hiding with a number of families in the mountains and during my stay I watched each day repeat itself – the men could not leave their compound or work so would spend hours at a time sitting and reflecting on their lives. A couple of days before leaving the country I traveled up to the fort town of Krujë, which has been a site of resistance throughout history. This man who stood on part of the walls whilst airing the carpets of a local church. He seemed pensive, looking out across the seemingly peaceful valley stretching below us. I stayed for a few minutes watching, then took a couple of frames. The whole time the man looked out and didn’t say a word.”

Editor’s Note: It’s hard to believe that we are nearing the sixth year anniversary of Verve Photo. Since 2008 I have showcased the work of over 800 photographers. It’s important to emphasize that the images posted here are not isolated photographs. If you click on any of the photographers’ links, I guarantee that you will be inspired by the vision and the variety in each one’s considerable body of work. Marco Kesseler, a young British photographer is proof of that. What a joy to explore the images on his site. In this age of smart phones and non-stop social media activity it’s been my intention to showcase photography that causes the viewer to slow down and reflect for more than a few seconds. Happy Holidays to all. We will resume posting the first week of January 2014.

Chiara Tocci May 16, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Albania.
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Shllak village, near Shkoder Albania 2009

Chiara Tocci (b. 1982, Italy) graduated from the Università di Firenze in 2006 and earned a BA in Documentary Photography from the University of Wales, Newport in 2010. After graduating she won the Portrait Commission at the National Museum Wales and National Portrait Gallery, London in 2010. Chiara’s photographs have been published in  Context and Narrative in Photography, British Journal Of Photography, Ag Magazine, and the Guardian. She is included in the 2012 Magenta Foundation Emerging Photographers and in the Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed 2011, curated by The Photographers’ Gallery, London. Other exhibitions include Hereford Photography Festival (2011), TRACE Gallery, Cornwall (2010), and the Pingyao International Photography Festival, China (2010). Her series Life after Zog was the recipient of the Marco Pesaresi award and was published by Schilt.

About the Photograph:

“My fixer and interpreter Antonela wanted to show me a new place one morning. We jumped on a “furgon” (a sort of shared taxi ) and ventured to the village where my fixer’s mother works as a teacher a few days a week. Surrounded by loud men smoking cigarettes and a crying goat at the back we arrived at the village of Bajze. Our first stop was a visit with a family related to Antonela: a big house inhabited by two toddlers and their extended family. The boys in this photograph, Sokol and Simon, were the newest addition to the family. A few years ago their relatives moved to the USA seeking asylum. This was a story shared by many Albanians.”

David Clifford May 18, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Albania.
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Bektashi Ceremony, Mount Kruje, Albania 2004

David Clifford (b.1974, Canada) graduated from the Art & Visual Communication Centre in Lisbon and shortly after began freelancing in 1997. The following year he was accepted for an internship at Público newspaper, one of the main Portuguese newspapers. In 2005 he became photo editor of Público. His work has been published in: Visao, Expresso, Grande Reportagem, Libération, Le Monde and Bloomberg. Along with commissions for governmental institutions David’s photographs have been exhibited at the Centro Cultural Belem, Lisbon Portugal and FNAC Galleries (Lisbon, Porto, Paris).

About the Photograph:

“I drove from Portugal to Albania – a depressed and forgotten country lingering in the suburbs of the European Union. The bearded old man is “Baba” Haxhi Reshat Bardhi, the head of the Bektashi, a Sufi order that derived from the Shia Muslims. The Baba went outside to greet the people and they would kiss his beard. Locals would later enter a room, eat a sweet and share a brief moment in the presence of the Baba. There was silence most of the time but once in a while the Baba would speak short sentences to the people sitting around him. He sat against the wall in front of the paintings of Iman Ali on one side and the first Bektashi of Albania on another. Everyone seemed to enter a dreamy state. On top of the mountain things looked pure and beautiful.”

Nicole Tung July 1, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kosovo.
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Albanians at border crossing between Kosovo and Serbia. 2008

Originally from Hong Kong, Nicole Tung is now based in New York where she is in her third year at New York University, double majoring in Journalism and History. She intends to go into TV broadcast and documentary, and is currently interning at ABC News, contributing to Humanus, NYU’s Human Rights Journal, and attempting the freelance life on the side. Recently, Nicole was awarded the NYU DURF Grant which supported her trip to go back to Kosovo in December 2007.

About the Photograph:

“These Albanians are on their way to an enclave which is located in Serbian territory, and each time they want to go between Kosovo and Serbia, they have to cross a border checkpoint. The enclave they live in is called the Presevo Valley– dominated by Albanians, but legally under the Serbs. I feel like this photo is representative of the Albanians there. A month before Kosovo was set to declare its independence from Serbia, the former province underwent a subtle transition to prepare itself for the long-awaited day. Kosovo spent eight years under UN administration, following the war in 1999 in which NATO intervened on the Albanians’ behalf to drive out Yugoslav forces. Life there is marked by frequent water and power outages, and many socio-economic problems, and while Serbs remained uncertain over their future, Kosovar Albanians were confident that they would have their own country within the first few months of 2008.”

Bevis Fusha April 29, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Albania.
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Porto Romano, Albania

Bevis Fusha was born in 1976 in a family of photographers. He has a degree in Philosophy and Sociology from the University of Tirana, Albania. He is currently freelancing and is based in Tirana, Albania. He is a member of the Anzenberger photographic agency in Vienna and also affiliated with Metro Collective in Washington DC. His photographs have been published and exhibited in Europe.

About the Photograph:

From the project titled Slow and Motionless Death. The 15,000 residents of Porto Romano, located near the Albanian harbor city of Durres, live with an ongoing environmental catastrophe. The United Nations Environmental Program has declared Porto Romano the most toxic “red zone” in the Balkans due to pervasive contamination by industrial chemicals such as lindane and benzene chloride. The majority of the residents moved to the area from poor regions in the north of the country after the fall of communism in 1992.

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