Photographs by Matthias Aschauer.
Fotohof Editions, Austria, 2012. 128 pp., 81 black & white illustrations, 8½x9½".
It’s hard to believe, but the achingly poor and isolated country of Albania has the highest concentration of Mercedes-Benz automobiles in the world; supposedly 60 percent of the cars and trucks in Albania are Mercedes-Benz. Austrian photographer Matthias Aschauer grabs onto this astounding factoid and investigates the relationship between Albanians and their Mercedes-Benz. His 35mm, black-and-white photos show the essential part that Mercedes play in keeping Albanians on the road. Aschauer’s stark, unadorned images of Mercedes in the barren landscapes, rutted highways and dilapidated cities of Albania show the unlikely yet passionate relationship between the luxury brand and the hardscrabble Albanian culture.