David Clifford May 18, 2011Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Albania.
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.”