Photos tell the story of Albanian migrants who returned home

VICE featured a photo essay by Italian freelance photojournalist Laura Aggio Caldon that was originally published by VICE Greece.

Shkodra, Albania. 2014. Agim Dini has opened a farm with the help of a financial aid project (Oxfam Italia onlus) for migrants who returned to Albania.//VICE
Shkodra, Albania. 2014. Agim Dini has opened a farm with the help of a financial aid project (Oxfam Italia onlus) for migrants who returned to Albania.//VICE

The photo essay documents relatively young and of working age Albanians who are returning to their home country from nearby European Union countries such as Italy and Greece.

The great thing about this piece is that after a few written blurbs that give some background on the story, the photos and captions are left to do the talking. It does so in just 13 photos, so it is to the point and not overwhelming.

The photos include well-composed portraits of those affected by economic downturn and high unemployment in the region. Also shown are snapshots of crumbling Albanian buildings that depict how the country is in need of its own economic boost. It paints an overall picture of the people and the country.

The captions are well-done too. They are so concise, yet they contain information that put the photos in a larger perspective and connect them to a meaningful story.

Island of Corfu, 2014. Many Albanians in Greece are transferring their savings to banks back at home, fearful of what might happen if Greece leaves the eurozone. Some Greek and Italian companies have also begun to set up branches in Albania that are ran by trusted Albanians who used to work for them.//VICE
Island of Corfu, 2014. Many Albanians in Greece are transferring their savings to banks back at home, fearful of what might happen if Greece leaves the eurozone. Some Greek and Italian companies have also begun to set up branches in Albania that are ran by trusted Albanians who used to work for them.//VICEperspective.

Each relates the singular image to the overall story. For example, a photo of a Greek Island is accompanied with, “Island of Corfu, 2014. Many Albanians in Greece are transferring their savings to banks back at home, fearful of what might happen if Greece leaves the eurozone. Some Greek and Italian companies have also begun to set up branches in Albania that are ran by trusted Albanians who used to work for them.”

Tirana, Albania. 2014. A study by the National Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says many of the returned migrants see their return to Albania in only temporary terms. Only 40 percent of them see their future as being in Albania.//VICE
Tirana, Albania. 2014. A study by the National Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says many of the returned migrants see their return to Albania in only temporary terms. Only 40 percent of them see their future as being in Albania.//VICE

The captions go beyond simply stating what is in the picture and instead give details that are essential to explaining the situation. Unfortunately, the captions do not link to sources of referenced statistics, which could give readers a chance to check out the information for themselves. The piece is also missing a way to share individual photos, which could have been a way for readers to share a photo they really liked that linked to the entire piece.

As for interacting with the audience on social media, the photo essay misses the mark. VICE shared the piece on Twitter, but that is it the extent of it. However, this may be a result of the piece originally being posted for VICE Greece’s audience not the U.S. VICE. Some digging revealed that Laura Aggio Caldona had a little-used, non-verified Facebook page and no Twitter account for the photojournalist could be found.

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