Tbilisi Photo Festival: Five Young Georgian Photographers You Need To Check Out

 

With an ever-growing tourism industry, Georgia has become a favourite travel destination among the Instagram generation. Whether it is the convergence of differing cultures, the rich history, or just the naturally beautiful landscape, Georgia is a photographer’s dream come true. It is a country that offers up endless opportunities for even the most amateur of photographers to capture a moment of wonder with little struggle. Although one could make an argument that there are more beautiful countries than Georgia, it would be a struggle to find a more photogenic country in the world.

Starting this week, the eighth edition of the Tbilisi Photo Festival will showcase both local and international photographic talent. This year’s festival will include the works of Guy Bourdin and Viviane Sassen and will focus on the convergence of fashion, identity, ideology and photography, which surely will conjure up numerous interesting debates. Past years of the festival have been, a hit and there is no reason to think this year will be any different.

With the upcoming festival in mind, we thought it would be the ideal time to celebrate some of our favourite young Georgians who are really contributing to putting photography from their country on the map. While photographers like Dina Oganova and David Meskhi have greatly contributed to Georgia’s ever-burgeoning reputation as a vibrant cultural centre, we’d like to highlight some other, lesser-known photographers, that are really exciting us.

 

Thoma Sukhashvili

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Thoma likes to go analogue, and that is visible from his photos. He is a master in shooting desolate, raw, and sometimes macabre settings. Isolation, despair and desertion are recurring themes in his work, and abandoned places are often his hunting grounds. However, this doesn’t mean that he is a one trick pony. He also does portraits very well, as well as streetscapes with often a touch of humour to them. He’s not one to shy away from powerful fashion photography either, using stark contrasting colours and creatively playing with natural light.

 

Lasha Fox Tsertsvadze

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Lasha is a strong personality, which is reflected in his work. He does an incredible job shooting portraits, often bringing out those features which are remarkable or a little off. Mostly working with youngsters, his photos give a taste of what it is like to be an adolescent in Georgia. He has a keen eye for streetscapes, too, and knows how to playfully work with colour, light, and surprising effects such as magnifying glasses. Whether it is ‘beautiful’, ‘funny’ or ‘hypnotizing’: all his photos can be described using a powerful term… and usually several.

 

George Gogua

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George is a photographer that we have been loving since we started our magazine. His series “The Beauty of Soviet Architecture” really made a major impact and contributed to him becoming one of Tbilisi’s top photographers. A photojournalist by trade, Gogua’s work subverts the prevailing image of brutalist architecture as being oppressive and dark with his charming shots of mostly Tbilisi apartment buildings. Although he does deny the beauty in Soviet design, he somehow manages to portray them with a more gentle gaze traditionally applied to this particular style of architecture.

 

Eana Korbezashvili

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Eana Korbezashvili works as a photojournalist with the Georgian news site Civil.ge and Liberali, while also teaching photography at Tbilisi State University. Her work spans a wide variety of issues, from current events and gender and minority issues in Georgia, to her time in Ukraine during the Euromaidan. Her photography is ideal for those interested in political issues in Eastern Europe, but is equally aesthetically rich with texture and colour. Her projects centered around the metro systems in Tbilisi and Baku are particularly noteworthy.

 

Nata Sopromadze

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Certainly one of Georgia’s most interesting photographers, Nata’s work is noteworthy for her complexity and diversity. While so many photographers look to carve out a niche for themselves, Nata appears to be constantly evolving as a photographer and breaking from her past work. She has been cited for having a remarkable ability to take seemingly inconsequential objects and breathe life into them through her photography. Her work on elderly women entitled “The Invisible Age” is an absolute must for anyone interested in Georgian photography.