Travel and street photography workshop in Albania in June 2013


Travel and street photography photo tour to Albania.

Dates: 19 – 30 June 2013.
Itinerary: Tirana – Durres – Shkodra – Tirana – Vlora – Tirana.
Participants and their photos: David Gaberle, Marcin Sikorski, Gareth Fitzpatrick and Michael Foo.

This is how the workshop was advertised:

Workshop Description:

It will be a very practical workshop and there will be a lot of shooting every day. You will be working in pairs changing “partners” after a lunch break. You will be shooting with Maciej every day since there will be only four of you altogether. For example you shoot with Maciej on Monday morning, then you shoot with the first person in the afternoon, the next morning with another person and with Maciej again in the afternoon. By shooting with Maciej you will have a chance to observe him at work, learn his techniques and tricks. Maciej is a very experienced travel and street photographer and you will learn a great deal of new things. In the evening you will edit and discuss your photos in the group together with Maciej. There will be plenty of opportunities to talk photography too. It will be a very memorable week.


Maciej’s photos shot during his brief visit to Tirana and Berati in Albania in April 2010:

Tirana, Albania
Street photography in Tirana, Albania.
Street photography in Tirana, Albania.
Durres, Albania
Street photography workshop in Tirana, Albania.
Tirana, Albania
Berati, Albania
Tirana, Albania thumbnail
Tirana, Albania thumbnail
rIMG_7414_balkans_albania_tirana_flowers thumbnail
Durres, Albania thumbnail
Tirana, Albania thumbnail
Tirana, Albania thumbnail
Albania thumbnail
Albania thumbnail
Albania thumbnail
Berati, Albania thumbnail

What does Lonely Planet says about Albania?
“Awaking Sleeping Beauty–like in the 1990s from her hardline communist isolation, Albania was a stranger from another time. Her cities weren’t choked by car fumes, her beaches were unspoilt by mass tourism, her long-suffering people were a little dazed and confused. While things have changed a lot since then, this ancient land still offers something increasingly rare in Europe these days – a glance into a culture that is all its own. Raised on a diet of separation and hardship, Albania is distinctly Albanian.
You’ll continue to find beautiful pristine beaches on parts of the Ionian Coast (try the charming town of Saranda), fascinating classical sites like ancient Berat, and dramatic mountain citadels, but the mad traffic of Tirana is symptomatic of a bustling, bright city shrugging off its Stalinist grey patina. Squat toilets are no longer the norm and you can even sip cocktails at hip bars while listening to rock bands. Meanwhile, Northern Albania keeps the country’s reputation as a wild frontier alive and well, with bleak mountains and the occasional blood feud.
Not just the preserve of the adventurous, Albania is a warm and sincerely hospitable country – with enough rough edges to keep it interesting.”

and this:
“After years of government-enforced isolation, Albanians welcome travellers with sincere hospitality. Upgraded roads swirl past the new houses and bar/restaurant/hotel developments that demonstrate the country’s newfound prosperity. August sees quiet seaside spots morph into loud disco-laden towns where every day is a thumping weekend. Head north and you might spot locals in traditional dress, sworn virgins and shepherds guiding flocks in the otherwise inhospitable mountains.
Albania is unforgettable: donkeys tethered to concrete bunkers, houses crawling up each other to reach the hill-tops in Berat and Gjirokastra, and isolated beaches.”

And what about Tirana?
“Lively, colourful Tirana has changed beyond belief in the last decade from the dull, grey city it once was. It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do – covering one ugly tower block with horizontal orange and red stripes, another with concentric pink and purple circles and planting perspective-fooling cubes on its neighbour.
Trendy Blloku buzzes with the well-dressed nouvelle bourgeoisie hanging out in bars or zipping between boutiques. Quite where their money comes from is the subject of much speculation in this economically deprived nation, but thankfully you don’t need much of it to have a fun night out in the city’s many bars and clubs.
The city’s grand central boulevards are lined with fascinating relics of its Ottoman, Italian and communist past – from delicate minarets to socialist murals – guarded by bored-looking soldiers with serious automatic weaponry. The traffic does daily battle with both itself and pedestrians in a constant scene of unmitigated chaos. On any given day half the roads seem to be dug up, although it can be hard to tell where the roadwork ends and the potholes begin. Loud, crazy, colourful, dirty – Tirana is simply fascinating.”

Read more on the Lonely Planet website and on wikitravel.

and here is a

workshop report by Maciej

with a mix of real camera and mobile phone photos.

Photography workshop students look at their photos on the backs of digital cameras in a restaurant in Tirana.

Well deserved pints of Tirana Beer on the first evening of the workshop at the Pyramid restaurant in Tirana. Gareth and Mike check their photos taken on that day.


Gareth photographs a group of Albanian holidaymakers on the beach in Durres, the second largest city of Albania.


David gets a critique of his photo from a kid in the residential area of Durres which we explored together. Marcin and Gareth were shooting at that time together in a different part of the town.


A quick byrek breakfast in a small patisserie in Durres before catching a bus to Shkodra. Byrek is the main element of Albania breakfast. It tastes so well with sour milk. We all quickly became fans of byrek.


A small grill restaurant in Tirana near our hostel – a first meal with Michael, who has just arrived. The day after Gareth went back to London and we again were a group of four – two pairs for shooting.


A busy night in my hotel room shared with David in Vlora. Going through a street photography presentation for Michael, who arrived later than the rest of the group. Here discussing common composition errors, while David and Marcin are editing their photos.


Marcin photographs a group of Albania women strolling at the sunset time on the beach in Durres, Albania. He politely stopped them and asked for a photo. They were happy to pose for him. During the workshop I put a lot of attention to so called “social skills” – an interaction with local people. We try to talk to people, stay with them longer, get closer and get better photos. We try to learn a few simple expression and use them as much as we can – a simple “hello” or “how are you” open so many new possibilities often.


Michael photographs a man working on demolition of an building in Vlora. Photo by Marcin, who was out shooting with Michael on that morning. During my workshops I encourage students to search for photos not only on the street, but also indoors. So we enter shops, churches, people’s homes to take photographs different than street photos.


The last evening of the workshop. David and Mike go through Marcin’s photos at the Pyramid restaurant in central Tirana. Waiting for beer and delicious grill snacks.

Maciej’s photos taken during the workshop: “Albania 2013 Photography Workshop” set on flickr.