Εντάξει, θα το δείτε σε όλο το ίντερνετ, αλλά μόνο σε εμάς θα δείτε την πρώτη, την πραγματική δημοσίευση από το περιοδικό VICE. Περιέχει την πραγματική συνέντευξη του φωτογράφου + εξτρα φωτογραφίες. Είναι κρίμα νομίζω που η Αθήνα μπορεί και βγάζει πόζες Νέας Υόρκης, κουλ παρακμής κι έτσι, δεν έχει τίποτα κουλ το να ζεις πρεζάκιας, άρρωστος, κυνηγημένος σε άδεια εργοστάσια και φτηνά ξενοδοχεία. Το λέει ο φωτογράφος κάποια στιγμή (και δεν το μετέφρασαν όλο): "Οι εικόνες που διάλεξα είναι δυνατές για μένα σε προσωπικό επίπεδο, γιατί γνωρίζω την ιστορία πίσω από καθεμιά τους. Όταν οι άλλοι βλέπουν αυτές τις εικόνες θέλω να αισθάνονται σεβασμό και αξιοπρέπεια προς αυτούς τους ανθρώπους, όπως αισθάνομαι κι εγώ γι' αυτούς". Αλλά τώρα η αθηναίϊκη ντεκαντέντσια μπήκε στο χώρο του θεάματος. Η εικόνα δε μυρίζει, μπορείς να φανταστείς τη μυρωδιά σε κάποιες φωτό; Η εικόνα δεν σε βάζει σε κίνδυνο, δε σου κάνει τράκα, δεν μεταδίδει νοσήματα, ταιριάζει στον προσωπικό σου μικρόκοσμο ανώδυνα. Προβλέπω επιδείξεις μόδας των πιο μεγάλων και αβντ-γκαρντ οίκων μόδας στη πλατεία Βάθης.
Enri Canaj is an Albanian photojournalist who migrated with his family to Athens when he was 11 years old. He’s grown up in and around adversity for most of his life and over the last couple years has been documenting Athens's transformation from a prosperous city to a melting pot offascists, antifascists, protests, poverty and sex trafficiking. Enri's photographs, which focus on the town's immigrant population, are a compassionate look into the lives of a population stuck in terrible conditions. He was kind enough to send me these sometimes heartrending photos from his series, titled Shadows in Greece, and I talked to him about his subjects, the troubles his city is going through and whether there is hope for the future.VICE: What's the inspiration behind these photos?
Enri Canaj: Shadows in Greece is a personal project that I started two years ago. The series documents everyday life in Athens in the wake of the tremendous tourist influx during the Olympics in 2004 and subsequent outflow. These are places that were once the city’s busiest districts and now rot in abandonment. People creep through the streets like shadows, heads down, stiff shoulders, sealed lips. While the stock market falls, suicide is on a steady rise. Each photograph depicts a person with a story to tell.
What were you looking for when you started?
At the beginning this project, I was focused only on the smaller economic and social crises that were spreading on a personal level day after day. Things immediately changed, though. Big strikes, demonstrations, angry people protesting and burning shops and buildings became the norm in Athens. At first, I was photographing without a clear purpose. It was unbelievable even for me what all of us were going through. Then suddenly my photographs took me down another path.The center of Athens, as I first remember it, was full of life. During the period before the Olympics there was great development. But after they all left, the city started deteriorating and gradually recovered its previous character: the junkies, street merchants, immigrants and prostitutes. But for me, those people were always there. I saw all of that when I first arrived to Athens as an 11-year-old child.I began to focus on the immigrants, living in small rented rooms, many of them without much hope.The women prostitute themselves for five euros Hanging around them has become my daily routine.They are sensitive people with a lot of family problems, but they were the ones who were friendly to me when I first arrived in Athens, an immigrant myself. They came to Greece for a better future but found poverty and racism. Some of them suffered physical violence and some even lost their lives. These are the people my project talks about. The images I have selected are powerful to me on a personal level, because I knew the story behind them. When others look at those pictures I want them to feel respect for and dignity of the subjects like I do.