May 05, 2012 Author: David Galjaard
Concresco is more than a visual witness to the ravages of communism; it’s a wistful ode to the 750,000 bunkers marring the Albanian landscape, anchored deeper in the history and collective unconscious of the country than in its land itself. Unadorned and taken from the distance of an outside observer, David Galjaard’s photos perspire the bleakness of the fall out of a 50 year long dictatorship.
Instead of self-pitying portraits, Galjaard turned his lens towards passing scenes of daily life – almost as if taken from a car window, on his way to a better place. Close-ups on dirt, trash and plastic somehow say more than disillusioned faces and cliches on poverty. A suffering land is just as expressive as a suffering people – Galjaard may not have purposefully chosen the allegory, but it definitely works.
The beauty of certain landscapes raises questions, pockmarked by the concrete protuberances like a skin scarred by a bad acne; fields and shores and mountains, wishing they were naked. Every shot exudes the dreariness of a past that has leaked into and tarnished hopes for the future. Concresco in latin means “stuck, congealed, coagulated”: the apt description of a people desperately trying to recover from decades of propaganda-fed ostracisation and socio-economical destruction.
Texts are inserted with testimonials from local journalists, professors and construction workers, giving a voice to that history and those dashed hopes in a very compelling, lively, non-textbook way; throats close and chests hurt, reading about the regrets of some, the pride of others, and the fear of all.
The book is available for sale directly from the artist.
UPDATE: Concresco won the Photobook of the Year Award 2012 from Paris Photo and Aperture.