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Elton Gllava © 2020


I became a photographer with the idea of exploring and describing the world. After a few years I realized that photography is much more than that to me. It is a vital breath. I feel alive when I photograph, as if I am living not only my own life, but that of all the people I meet. Encounters made of joy, pain, suffering, beauty, struggle. It is in this incredible cocktail of emotions which surge though me that I discover  myself. A kind of sponge absorbing the world it meets and becoming part of it in order to recount those moments of truth.

To do this I alternate between photography and video, moving from celluloid film to digital, from black and white to colour. Experimentation is at the heart of my quest to give form to emotions.


Elton Gllava was born in Vlorë, Albania in 1974. When the communist regime collapsed and the borders opened, in 1992 he seized his opportunity to experience another world and like thousands of Albanians made the crossing Italy. His early years in Rome exposed him to some of the darker sides of multilayered Roman society through various pursuits and employments……however in 2007 he made the decision to dedicate himself to photography. His photographic style is focused towards both social and authorial reportage with a strong draw towards the intimate aspects.

Education I Residency

2007 / 2009 •  Diploma from Scuola Romana di Fotografia
2009 • Masterclass in photojournalism and reportage
2010 • Workshop with the photographer Lina Pallotta
2011 • Workshop with photo editor Christian Caujollle
2012 • Workshop with the photographer Morten Andersen
2012 • Residence at ISSP, Latvia
2014 / 2015 • The advanced lab “The Carbonar* Box 1.0” held by Lina Pallotta
2016 • “Finding the narrative in your work” – Workshop with Joan Lifting
2017 • “Anatomy of a book” – Workshop with Yolanda Cuomo
2017 • Workshop with Johannes Schwartz 
2019 • Residency at Art House School – Shkodër, Albania    


Winner of “Best Research” award for Protopost – Communist Film Festival 2021 with “Albanian Cinema Paradiso”

Winner of Fotoleggendo Festival 2016

Second Classified at UmbriaWorldFest 2016

Honorable Mention at MIFA 2016

Finalist Renaissance photography 2016

ShortListed on Instanbul Photo Book Festival


2021 • “Albanian Cinema Paradiso”, Tirana International Film Festival, Tirana, Albania

2021 • “Bulqizë”, Daegu Photo Biennale, Daegu, South Corea

2020 • “Bulqizë“, Festival del Cinema Albanese, Casa del Cinema, Rome, Italy

2020 • “Albanian Cinema Paradiso“, Festival del Cinema Albanese, Casa del Cinema, Rome, Italy 

2019 • “Albanian Cinema Paradiso”, curated by Francois ChevalMuzeu Kombëtar i Fotografisë Marubi, Shkodër, Albania

2019 • “Bulqizë”, curated by Francois ChevalArt House, Shkodër, Albania

2019 • “Albanian Cinema Paradiso“, curated by Liza Faktor, Cortona on the Move

2018 • “Bulqizë“, Cultura Mondo, Associazione Crocevia, Lecce

2017 • “Where the crows would have sung” curated by Sara Palmieri and Lina Pallotta, Castelnuovo Fotografia, Castelnuovo Di Porto

2017 • “Where the crows would have sung” curated by Sara Palmieri and Lina Pallotta , Pelanda Factory, Museo Macro Testaccio, Roma

2017 • Group exhibition “Cosa?” organized by Luce, 001, Fotoleggendo circuit, Rome

2015 • “The hidden identities“, Logos – Festa della Parola, Roma

2010 • “Ali Mihali – The hidden identities” curated by Emilio D’Itri, Fotoleggendo, Rome

2009 • “Panta Rei – Earthquake Abruzzo“, Scuola Romana di Fotografia e Cinema, Rome

Talks I Presentations

2020 • “Albanian Cinema Paradiso” presentation at Casa del Cinema

2020 • “Bulqizë” presentation and book signing with Renata Ferri at Micamera

2020 • “Blanco” online presentation at PH Museum

2019 • #acosytalk, at The paper Room & Yogurt Magazine, Rome

2019 • “Blanco” presentation and book signing at Leporello

2019 • Presentation of “Beyond the Image” residency at Muzeu Kombëtar i Fotografisë Marubi, Shkodër , Albania

2019 • Presentation of “Albanian Cinema Paradiso“, at Cortona on the Move

2019 • “Bulqizë” book signing at Cosmos-Hypercosmos Edition, Arles

2019 • “Bulqizë” presentation and book signing at Officine Fotografiche Roma

2019 • “Bulqizë” presentation and book signing at MIA photo fair, Milano

2015 • “The hidden identities” presentation at Logos- Festa della Parola, Rome

Interviews I Online Features

2020 • Interview at “Diaspora”, Top Channel Albania

2019 • Featured on Internazionale

2019 • Interview at “Wake Up”; Top Channel Albania

2018 • Featured and interviewed by Veronica Sanchis  Bencomo for “Photographic Museum of Humanity”

2017 • Featured on “Il Manifesto”

2017 • Featured on “Burn Magazine”

2017 • Interviewed by Valentina Piccinni for “il Reportage

2017 • Interviewed by Carlotta Tagliarini for “Albania News

2016 • Featured on Colin Pantall’s blog