Dutch photographer David Galjaard discovered an unlikely photographic subject in a slew of concrete bunkers, left over from the Albanian Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, who had them built throughout Albania between 1945 and his death in 1985, out of fear of an attack from abroad. In a recent interview with Aperture, Galjaard explains that “bells started ringing when I read about the 750,000 to one million above-ground bunkers that were built in such a small country.” The construction of these bunkers was no small endeavor: For a country with a population of nearly 3.3 million, there is at least one bunker per four Albanians. Though the bunkers were never used for their intended purpose, they still dot the landscape, serving as a symbolic reminder of a nation wrought by more than 40 years of Communist dictatorship that came to a close with the creation of the Republic of Albania in 1991.
Galjaard has gained serious acclaim for his self-published book on the series, titled Concresco (2012), from a mention in PDN’s “Indie Photo Books of the Year,” to the 2012 Paris Photo/Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Award for a first book.
— Lindsay Comstock