Ahead With the Past.
Photographs by Jutta Benzenberg.
Fotohof Editions, 2011. 144 pp., 100 black & white and color illustrations, 11¼x9¾".
The poverty-stricken nation of Albania was the most mysterious of Iron Curtain countries; closed-off to visitors, it was governed by ruthless dictators who were followers of Chairman Mao. But in the years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, even Albania has changed dramatically. Twenty years after their first collaboration, German-born socio-documentary photographer Jutta Benzenberg and Albanian author Ardian Klosi look again at this perplexing country through photographs and narration that balances sensitivity and subtle humor with the occasional flash of ruthlessness. Benzenberg has been documenting Albania since she photographed prisons and migrants in 1991, but her archive was destroyed by fire in 2007. In this beautifully produced book, she begins again, like the Albanians, with determination.