Paris-Photo Aperture Foundation First PhotoBook Award 2012
PDN Indie Photo Books of the Year
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2012 in Photo-eye by Martin Parr
Fearing an attack from abroad, Albanian Stalinist leader Enver Hoxha had around 750,000 above ground bunkers built during his time in power, from 1945 until his death in 1985. After the collapse of communism in 1991, the virtually indestructible bunkers were deprived of their unfulfilled purpose, serving purely as an obtrusive reminder of a dictatorship that had had lasted for almost fifty years. Today their massed presence seems mainly to impress foreigners, while Albanians themselves prefer to look to the future. Although accession to the EU is expected to take at least another ten years, the population has a sense of being ready for it.
In this documentary, the bunkers are used as a visual metaphor in the telling of a larger social story. They help to paint a picture of developments in a country that was the last in Europe to renounce communism and has set out on a demanding quest to become part of the capitalist West.