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Work / Photography

Richard Kovacs’ experimental images of Albania reflect the ambiguity of the country

“Photography makes me even more curious,” explains Richard Kovacs, a London-based photographer for who travel and exploration is paramount to his practice. Last time we wrote about Richard it was his highly stylised images taken on the beaches of Lagos that caught our attention, but this time, it’s Albania that Richard has turned his lens to.

Richard originally visited the southeast European country for a holiday last summer but was struck by its unusual juxtapositions. “While their coastline is really beautiful, the rest of the country is not very developed, so there is a great contrast that one experiences while travelling through Albania,” Richard tells It’s Nice That. “Amazing natural landscapes and rough urban areas sit next to each other, which fascinated me, so I started shooting.”

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Richard Kovacs: Vlore to Himare to Tirana

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Richard Kovacs: Vlore to Himare to Tirana

This kind of photography, made in response to his surroundings, is typical of Richard’s process. “My photography is very explorative, so I’m usually not looking for anything particular in advance, rather the opposite, I let the subjects come my way and find me,” he tells It’s Nice That. More than just a way to explore while on holiday, for Richard photography as a medium enables exploration that wouldn’t happen without his camera. “Photography gives a good excuse to do things that you normally wouldn’t do without a camera," he says. "You look and feel less strange or odd in a specific situation if you are taking a picture. It’s especially true when shooting amongst people, on the street for example.”

As Richard uses photography in such an instinctual way, his images reflect this aesthetically, with him trying out techniques to reflect his experience of a certain place. The images taken in Albania, for example, include photo montages of several images, with high contrast and almost inverted colours. Titled Vlore to Himare to Tirana this visually-extreme choice imbues the series with the ambiguity and disparity Richard experienced between the various towns the series is named after.

In terms of how he views the series now that the trip is over, Richard responds: “I hope the series sparks people’s imagination and makes them want to learn more about this country, and potentially visit it, as it’s a very interesting place with many beautiful spots, yet still underrated.”

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Richard Kovacs: Vlore to Himare to Tirana

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Richard Kovacs: Vlore to Himare to Tirana

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Richard Kovacs: Vlore to Himare to Tirana

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Richard Kovacs: Vlore to Himare to Tirana

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Richard Kovacs: Vlore to Himare to Tirana

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Richard Kovacs: Vlore to Himare to Tirana

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Richard Kovacs: Vlore to Himare to Tirana

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Richard Kovacs: Vlore to Himare to Tirana