Edra and I had met up again for one last photoshoot before I leave Albania on Sunday and per usual it was a fun romp around the centre of Tirana. This time Edra’s wardrobe had two very fun pieces, a sheep’s hair vest and a striking red coat which felt straight out of the movie Paris Je T’aime.
I love Instagram, it is such a wonderful tool for connecting creatives, and Edra is I’ve of those people that I was so fortunate to meet and collaborate with.
Edra is an accounting student and developing creative currently working on an online lifestyle magazine/blog based out of Tirana. I came across Edra’s work through the copious use of Albanian themed hashtags, right away I noticed her fantastic style and eye for engaging content and I knew that I wanted to shoot with her.
The first stop was a construction barrier that I spotted on one of my first days in Tirana, it was covered with a large canvas covered in tropical plants and animals and I was desperate to do a shoot with it as our backdrop.
We proceeded to walk around the centre of Tirana, stopping at many locations that many people wouldn’t think twice about, but Edra was game for anything and that fun energy resulted in some fabric photographs!
You can follow more of Edra’s work on her Instagram @edra.bala
My friend Kibela had told me so many stories about Ani, which had me very excited when we finally met after a few days of me arriving in Tirana. Right away I could feel the love and kind energy that she put out into the world. Ani’s look reminded me of a classic French model, so classic yet unique. Kibela had stated right away that the both of us MUST do a photo shoot, and a couple of weeks later it finally happened.
I had just come off of another wonderful photo shoot that afternoon and was definitely feeling tired, but we decided to give it a go anyways and the results speak for themselves. Ani approached the shoot like a seasoned professional, but with zero prevention and a willingness to try anything. Even though our shoot lasted less than two hours I am so happy with the number of quality images that we were able to capture together!
If you would like to see more of Ani, you can follow her on Instagram @anima8891
If I were asked what one of the most amazing experiences of my life was, I would quickly reply with my time at the Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS) in Austria.
I’m the autumn of 2017, myself and 49 other Young Cultural Innovators from around the world were all brought together to attend a 5-day intensive social innovation intensive at the Schloss Leopoldskron. It was a brilliant experience which lit a fire in my belly to push even harder to create positive social change in the world.
Fast forward 5 months, I’m in Tirana, Albania at the invitation of my friend Kibela (whom I had met at Salzburg), and she tells me that Peter, Shelagh, and Susanne from the SGS were coming to town and hosting a social innovation workshop in partnership with the Albanian-American Development Foundation… I could not believe it.
The night before, several of us alumni and organizers from the SGS got together for drinks and could not believe that all of us from around the world are all together in Albania!
The following day was filled with shaking conversation and a brilliant workshop (no surprise) hosted by Peter and Shelagh. We ended our day with rekindled passion in our personal missions, and several bottles of wine at Tëduktu, overall an amazing success.
You can learn more about the Salzburg Global Seminar at their website.
“Why Albania?!” Many people back home have asked since I arrived here 2 weeks ago. I can blame it on one thing, getting schlossed with Kibela Nasufi every night in the basement bierstube (German beer house) last October while attending the Salzburg Global Seminar.
Kibela and I had become great friends after just a few days, and she offered for me to come visit her in Tirana (capital city of Albania) – little did she know that I’m the kind of person who will take people up on their invitations 😉.
One of the first people I was introduced to was Vivienne (Vivi), Kibela’s best friend and all-around wonderful person. For weeks we had talked about taking photos one day, but busy schedules stopped us, until one hungover afternoon…
Where I am staying in the centre of Tirana we are quite close to a beautiful lake that Kibela always said that she would take me to, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to check that experience off the list. We had our coffees, our muffins, and once we had fully awoken, I pulled out my camera and beauty and fun unfolded from there.
You can follow Vivi on Instagram @vivienne_pitarka and Kibela @kibelanasufi