ATA News

“Trials” of trial photos, ATA and “Marubi” Museum stage an exhibition of unique evidence through 150 portraits

Musine Kokalari, Lef Nosi or Father Anton Harapi are just some of the names among the 150 profiles that appear in an exhibition as rare as it is sensitive and where each of them carries a story to tell.

The “Trials” exhibition was opened on Friday evening in the Northern city of Shkodra. The exhibition was opened thanks to the “Marubi” National Museum of Photography in cooperation with the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATSH) and reflects the research work carried out by curators Zef Paci, Luçjan Bedeni and Lek M. Gjeloshi.

The photographic images of the rich archive of the ATA date back to the political period of 1945-1961, when the communist regime of that time displayed its aggressive and threatening attitude towards people who had a different attitude.

Director of the “Marubi” National Museum of Photography Luçjan Bedeni said that the archive of the Albanian Telegraphic Agency is actually one of the largest archives in Albania.

“The research of this archive took us a relatively long time. For almost 6 months, we worked to research the images, which, shot in a certain time context, constitute the main axis of the propaganda of that time,” he said.

Referring to this research in the ATA archive, Bedeni said that, “We stopped at the title of this exhibition, which is the title of one of the albums of the ATA archive, “Trial”, an album in which there are photos reflecting a number of trials”.

“And this exhibition should not be seen as an event closely and necessarily connected with memory, but with the perspective of the image at certain moments of time and whether these images in the 40s or until the 90s when they were published, had another view point and today they have another. The exhibition also has a cinematographic aspect, as some of the published images are trial processes that have taken place in some cinema halls of the country”, underlined Bedeni.

He added that the name of the cinemas are written in the captions of every photo.

On her part, General Director of ATA Valbona Zhupa highlighted the significance of the archive of this only official media institution, which provides unique evidence of the past.

She stated that archives tell the story of a nation and enhance our sense of identity and understanding of culture, society and above all, human actions.

“Archives are witnesses of the past. They provide evidence, explanations, shedding light on what happened. It is precisely this light that this exhibition aims to bring, which through long and merciless trial sessions offers us what the curators have described as “a trial of the photography of trials”, she said.

Zhupa underlined that, “A long research work has been done in the archive of ATA, finding every photo and evidence of the political period 1945 – 1961”.

She drew attention to the extraordinary value of the archive and the efforts to bring it as close to the public as possible.

“This exhibition is of particular significance for us, as through it the public will get acquainted with what makes our archive so unique, in which it finds the roots of the good and evil”, said ATA director.

Zhupa also said that, “Being the oldest news agency in Albania, the archive of ATA has over 250,000 photos dating from its establishment in 1920, a time when it was called the “Palace of News”. Let’s not forget that its media activity was also significantly articulated through photographic services, which reflected the various activities that took place all over the country. ATA also possesses thousands of bulletins in hard copies since 1945, accessible to the public as well.”

“Archives are unique, simultaneous records and if lost they cannot be replaced. Only through proper identification, care and access can archives be put to the full benefit of society. And if they are managed properly, they remain the means by which a country can understand who, when, where, and how the past gave way to the present”, concluded Zhupa.

The exhibition will be open to the public until March 24, 2024.