Focal Point: Hazel Gaskin on Albania
Editorial photographer Hazel Gaskin travelled through Albania to create a personal body of work that mixes candid reportage with portraiture
Hailing from Dublin, photographer Hazel Gaskin bought her first camera while travelling in Japan aged 19. Today, she’s based in London, where she shoots fashion and other editorial work, counting Valentino, Stella McCartney and Dazed among her clients. But it’s in her personal work – shot on film – where Gaskin’s penchant for narrative, character and community comes to the fore.
“I work in a documentary style, mainly with a mix of candid reportage images and still portraits”‘ she explains. “The process has changed and developed over time. It involves a lot of walking and getting familiar with my surroundings.”
It’s this approach that makes Gaskin a perfect fit for ROADBOOK’s Focal Point series, which celebrates a new era of travel photography – one that moves away from imagery created for social media grids towards those that tell a story.
Gaskin has travelled extensively throughout Eastern Europe, chronicling mainly beachgoers young and old. Her soft, dreamy images recall the halcyon days of a bygone era – even though they were shot recently.
“The colours feel like they have more depth,” she says of her technique. “With film, you capture a moment; you instinctively know you have the picture and move on. When the film comes back you have such a feeling of satisfaction.”
Her portraits are interspersed with moments that have caught her eye: a shirt hanging on a tree, flowers coming into bloom, or a statue at night.
“With these images, I’m documenting the journey, trying to get a sense of the place through my image-making process,” she continues, speaking of her photographs of Albania and Romania. “From the outsider’s perspective, I was trying to capture similarities and differences between Western and European environments. Also, I travelled there from Montenegro, and it was interesting observing the shift between these two countries – there is a strong focus on beach culture.”
Gaskin is always looking forward to her next destination. “Many interesting things are happening right now in photography – there’s almost an overload. The story always inspires me, and there has to be a deeper meaning to work,” she reflects. “I’m often drawn to places where the boundaries have shifted over the years. That can be on a macro or micro scale – place and space, and how we inhabit these.”