Nick St.Oegger (b. 1988) is a documentary photographer from California, whose work explores people and societies in limbo, dealing with themes of identity, memory and the clash of tradition against modernity. He has spent several years working in the Western Balkans, with a specific focus on Albania. Clients have included: Vice, Huck, Reuters, Le Monde, De Standaard and Kosovo 2.0. Nick holds an MA in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism from the University of Westminster. He is currently based between London and Tirana, Albania.
Europe’s last undammed river, the Vjosa in Albania, remains largely unspoiled by development and modern industry. The river flows unobstructed from its source in northern Greece through to the Adriatic Sea, and is one of the world’s least explored. Agriculture remains the mainstay of life, with hopes to expand the tourism industry through the temptation of unspoiled nature.
But recently life along the Vjosa has been threatened by proposed hydropower dam projects, which would cause flooding of villages, farmlands and upset delicate biological processes within the river. This comes as a policy reversal by a government that promised to declare it a protected national park. The courts have upheld a lawsuit blocking construction of one dam, but now the government has filed an appeal while simultaneously opening bids on a second stalled hydropower project. Communities along the river have united in challenging the government’s on-going deal making, in an effort to save a way of life that has sustained them for generations. This is a portrait of life in one of Europe’s last wild ecosystems.
To view more of their work please visit their website.