Eternal Friendship

Anouck Durand

Translated by Elizabeth Zuba with an essay by Eliot Weinberger.

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hardback, 7 × 9.5
100 pages, full color
published in 2017

PDF Press Release

New York Times Best Photobook of 2017
& winner of the French Voices Award for excellence in translation and publishing

Anouck Durand’s photo-novel (or is it a photo-memoir?) is bewildering, peculiar and smart, a matryoshka doll of a story . . . A brilliant rerouting of photography that reminds me of those strange documentaries by Werner Herzog, say, or Chris Marker.
—Teju Cole, New York Times

This exquisitely composed photo-novel by French artist-writer Anouck Durand—collaged from photographic archives, personal letters and propaganda magazines—tells a true story that begins in Albania during World War II, stops in China during the Cold War, and ends in Israel as Communism crumbles.

When the Nazis invaded Albania, young partisan Refik Veseli and his Muslim family hid Jewish photographer Mosha Mandil and his wife, while Mosha’s two small children posed as Refik’s siblings. Despite the dire circumstances, Mosha instilled in Refik a great passion for photography and a friendship was forged in the crucible of war. After liberation, the Mandils left for Israel, inviting Refik to join them, but he stayed behind to contribute to his new nation, not knowing that he would never see his dear friend again.

Artist-writer Durand begins the story decades later in 1970, when Refik, having risen in the ranks as a state photographer, is allowed to travel to China and attempts to mail Mosha a letter, free of the Albanian censors.

In a deft construction of the fictional, personal and historical, Durand imagines Refik’s voice and inhabits private thoughts that seem haunted by the specter of surveillance. With nuance and restraint, she weaves his story of enduring friendship with Mosha into another in which the blunt alteration of history and extraordinary acts of censorship take place on a grand scale, as two ostracized regimes—China and Albania—attempt and ultimately fail to embrace.

In Eternal Friendship, the obscured path is the most revelatory, images that seem to have one message have many, and photography—used at the behest of merciless state powers—becomes a tool for resistance, liberation and human connection.


excerpts at Paris Review Daily, LitHub and The Brooklyn Rail

about the author

ANOUCK DURAND creates polyphonic photo-novels and image-based narratives using a variety of found materials and archives, drawing on history, pop culture as well as fictional constructions. Her work has been exhibited and collected by a variety of institutions including Museum Nicéphore Niépce and the Kandinsky Library at Centre Georges Pompidou. Eternal Friendship (originally Amitié Éternelle) was exhibited at the Arles Photography Festival in 2014.


Read reviews in BOMB Magazine, Collector Daily, Fanzine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Photo-Eye Book of the Week, and Photographic Museum of Humanity

see also


Frail SisterKaren Green


Square Octagon CircleEllie Ga

✼ plaudit:

“How does a book’s static format capture the temporal, ever-changing nature of gesture, thought, music, all the motion that defines social history? By doing something very close to what I Will Keep My Soul accomplishes: breaking through the fourth wall of the page.”


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