On Saturday 22 March I was lucky enough to attend the opening night of Life after Zog at the Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff. The exhibition, by Chiara Tocci, is her response to seeing streams of disillusioned Albanians docking on the coasts of her home town in southern Italy in the early Nineties.
I was really impressed by this collection of images. A lot of documentary photographers create images that ‘shout’ their story, I found that Tocci’s series was very quiet and reserved – and made better for it. The images are split into two smaller stories are are a mix of portraits, landscapes and still lifes. The images are presented in square format and the colours of many of the images are muted. For me it is the portraits that really make this series work.
As I will be starting a Documentary Photography degree in September, I found it inspiring to learnt that Tocci is a formed student of the same course at the University of Wales Newport. She graduated in 2010 and has quickly found success having already had several solo exhibitions internationally. Her internet footprint is currently pretty small, but I predict that this is a photographer to watch in the future.
A book of Tocci’s work in Albania has been published by Schilt Publishing under the title Life After Zog and Other Stories. You may be able to save a little money by looking at Amazon and picking up a well looked after second hand copy. The book opens with an interesting narrative from Tocci in which she summarises the situation in Albania and explains where she took her images.
Chiara Tocci was the recipient of the 2010 Marco Pesaresi award and the winner of the Portrait Commission at the National Museum Wales and National Portrait Gallery, London. Her first solo show “Life after Zog and other stories” took place in September 2011 at Sifest (Savignano sul Rubicone, Italy) and then toured the Fnac galleries in Italy throughout 2012.
If you are lucky enough to be reading this post before 24 April 2013 and are close to Cardiff then you should get yourself down to the Third Floor Gallery to see these images on display. The book is a good representation of the work but they look much better displayed on the gallery walls.
Other photographic series taken in Albania:
From Verve Photo site:
The Albanians by Joachim Ladefoged
Albania by David Clifford