Shadows in Greece



Albanian photographer Enri Canaj captures the deteriorating status of the city he was raised in, Athens, years after the Olympic games of 2004. The series Shadows in Greece encompasses the everyday life Canaj knew, after the tremendous touristic developments during the Olympic Games, Athens' decay allowed it to recover its previous state, consisting of junkies, street-merchants and prostitutes. He describes the city to be "fading from sight entirely. Some people have abandoned it due to the crisis. Many shops and hotels have shut down, the centre is now almost deserted. People fear they will get ripped-off, they no longer feel like going out and wandering about like before. They fear seeing the poverty, the destitution, the drug-users who care only about where their hit is coming from, and the women selling themselves for sex." 

Yet for Canaj, this was life, the Athens he found when he first arrived as a 9-year old child, the city he grew up in. Shadows in Greece expresses the ironic entrapment of the locals into their own lives, and their hope for change. Each photograph depicts a story and within it, each person has one to tell. This series is Canaj's personal story of Athens, of what is left behind and everything that once made it the vibrant city it was. "When others look at my pictures of these people I want them to respect their spirit to survive and see their dignity, as I do."