Oliviero Toscani in Albania

Oliviero Toscani in Albania

At the second meeting of the project “The Great Italian Photography in Tirana”, at “Mother Teresa” hall of Albania Opera Theater, we organized a meeting between photographers, artists and the Albanian public. This time with another world-renowned photographer was our guest, the artist Oliviero Toscani. You may find here are some photos of the event and you will find the official documentary of the event in another blog post.

The following wurds are a part of the opening speech by Julinda Mbrica, PR of EJAlbum:

“For us in EJAlbum, although we have already established a tradition in organizing these types of events, every time is special and above all, today I feel  proud but also a little frightened by the size that this initiative has now taken, started by our desire to bring to Albania the best world photography, in all its forms.

Oliviero Toscani is a myth for all of us who deal with art, for me who works in the advertising sector it is even more because in that sector we not only grew up with his work, but we also have to deal with it. In a sense, it is also a challenge. And here we are; today I have to present in front of our customers and all of you present, the second meeting of a project that thanks to the work of a wonderful staff, almost all volunteers, and thanks to the collaboration with an important institution and let me say it, with one extraordinary staff, like the Italian Cultural Institute in Tirana, manages to do something that I believe will remain one of the most beautiful projects that I have personally directed, but which I also believe will also be among the most interesting in Albania.

The idea behind these meetings is to be useful for our photographers and as democratic as possible. That’s why we don’t make nice VIP invitations and we don’t host a party in a chic place. We have no other purpose as a company in conducting these meetings except to share the experience, an experience that is essential for all of us to grow professionally. And because as a company we blindly believe in the added value of art. And we blindly believe in photography, its precious role in documenting what Toscani calls in the best way: “the conditions of the human race”.

I have another personal reason why I insisted for Oliviero to be with us today, something that has to do with this book that I have in my hands: “Kosovars Camp Hope”. Among the best books on the tragedy of half of the Albanian people, the war in Kosovo and the exodus of Kosovar refugees in Albania. At the time I was working as a psychologist for the global organization Handicap International, and I was personally faced with that drama, which kept me in contact with Kosovo and is an experience that I will never forget. And that’s why I want to quote some of Toscani’s words in the preface of this book, words that accurately describe the philosophy of his work and his life, and which for me are a quote to which I return from time to time:

“Art is nothing but a representation of extreme humanistic disciplines. Through art we have learned that there is beauty also in what we would never want to see and that beauty attracts us almost pathologically: crucifixes, battles, massacres, death, beheading, devious sexuality are among the main themes of ancient painting. We contemplate them, contemplating beauty. The photographs are nothing less than a collection of faces, landscapes, objects: but if they talk about the tragedy, we immediately take our eyes off instead of looking with the same attention we give to ancient painting to satisfy the aesthetic emotion we still need “ .

We invited Armando Babani to present our guest, because we think there has been consistency in his work as a photojournalist for decades, that is, the search for truth and, above all, it is the Albanian photographer who most of all uses photography not only to document a reality, but like Toscani, it uses it for what it really is: a communication medium. To make us see clearly, just like Toscani, what in our reality we daily hide from our eyes.

And I want to thank all of you who are here today, our wonderful customers, all the Albanian photographers, our staff, the Italian Cultural Institute in Tirana and above all I want to thank Oliviero Toscani for this precious gift he made us today with his presence here.

Thanks.

Julinda Mbrica

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