Jutta Benzenberg
Families in Europe

Since 1991, I have been photographing in Albania those people who have been forgotten.
Most Albanians don’t wish to leave their country.
Someone who used to be a fisherman once said to me: “You’re from Germany and I’m telling you, if Merkel gave the go-ahead, the very next day Albania would be an empty ghost land.”
How sad if you think how marvellous the people are who live here: hardworking, decent, warm-hearted  and struggling to survive day after day.
The project “The Forgotten” is precisely my theme. And I’m especially glad that through the planned exhibitions I can show Albania in a light that is unknown in the rest of Europe, using my portraits to reveal the country’s soul.
I’m very excited to be travelling to Germany to do portraits of the people living there in the shadow of wealth.
I’m very curious to see around what is for me an unfamiliar part of my old homeland since I’ve only been to the east of Germany once, in 1974. How will the people react? What will our conversations be like? What problems will I encounter there?
 

Biographie


I studied photography at the Staatliche Fachakademie für Fotodesign in Munich, Germany, and then worked as a photographer for several magazines and theatres. In 1991, I travelled for the first time through Albania with the Albanian writer Ardian Klosi to photograph those troubled times, portraying the people and landscapes. After several trips to the country, I published with Ardian Klosi a book in spring 1993 in Salzburg, Austria, under the title Albanisches Überleben  (Albanian Survival).
Our second book Bukuri e rëndë (Sombre Beauty), sponsored by the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia, was published in Tirana in 2004. I also exhibited the photographs from this book at,  among others,  the Biennial Arts Festival in Tirana (Albania), Think Pink in Prishtina, (Kosovo), and the Goethe Institut in Thessaloniki and in Athens (Greece).
My most recent solo and group Exhibitions  have been held in Rumania, Austria, Kosovo, Greece, Germany, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, the USA (Washington DC) and Latin America. From 2013 to 2014 I worked as official photographer for the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.
At present  I am based in Tirana.

Jutta Benzenberg