Photo Festival 2012 Livens Tbilisi
07 June, 2012
Photo Festival 2012 Livens Tbilisi

Another pleasant novelty Tbilisi city has introduced is a Tbilisi Photo Festival that took place in different parts of the town for the third time from May 29 to June 4.

Tbilisi Photo Festival 2012 opened together with the Europe Week on May 29. On the same day, National Gallery hosted the first part of the series titled “Colors of the Black Sea”, featuring George Georgiu from Panos Pictures, Phillip Gion and Julien Daniel from MYOP, Thomas Dvorjak, Yustina Melnikevich,

Rafal Milakh, Boris Mikhailov and Giorgi Pinkhasov from Magnum Photos, Yuri Kozirev from Noor and Vanessa Unship from VU. 
On May 30, New Gallery gave its premise to the one and only Georgian participant – Ms. Natela Grigalashvili called “Mother Tongue”. On the next day, a very interesting discussion was held at National Gallery, presenting the chronicle of the French Presidential Elections. The same day was dedicated to Stanly Green with the exhibition “On the way to Chechnya”.
On June 1, the second part of “Black Sea Colors” was presented at Europe House, depicting winter journey featuring Claudi Sluban.
The most interesting and long-awaited meeting with Stanly Green and hot round-table discussions about Syria was capped with the climax of the festival – photography night that took place in old Tbilisi, at almost all the remarkable streets, including Shardeni, Erekle 2 Street, Cotton Row, Abanotubani and etc on June 2. It was the photo shows at open air that attracted rather a big number of Tbilisi residents and tourists. The slideshow exposed the pictures from such grand magazines as Le Monde, Le Figaro, etc. depicting a number of topics such as: “Italy – shelter of fighting laborers”, “France – Portraits”. Among others, “Portrait of the American Sacred City” by Tom Johnson was really thrilling, which comprised all generations beginning from teenagers ending with pensioners, as well as various strata of the American society, how they entertain themselves and so on. Among others one was distinctive - elderly cyclist. Another photo really stood out with exquisite humor- a really hilarious old woman sitting in front of the switched on computer and playing cards at the same time. The series comprised a number of photos of world-famous celebrities such as Jodie Foster, Antonio Banderas, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Robert De Niro and Isabelle Huppert.  Another series of Grozny, Chechnya, were very hard and emotional to watch, but also quite interesting.     
“We think that this festival has gained the significance of the cultural event of the regional scale. We are glad that not only Georgians, Armenians and Azeri are represented but also Iraqis and Afghans. I hope very much that it will keep on growing and involve more and more countries,” Nestan Nizharadze, Art-director of Photography Festival commented for the media. 
Pazhar Mohammad, photographer from Iraq who was one of those who came in group to attend Tbilisi Photography Night 2012, noted:  “I just wanted to show my vision of Iraq, how I see it. Participating in this festival is a big deal for me as I wanted to show my photographs to the world  - what is happening in Iraq and in Kurdistan in particular. Next time if I ever come back, I wish to show more daily life of Iraq.”
Ali Arkady was another Iraqi photographer, representing Metrography, the First Iraqi Photography Agency. “It’s a really good start for my career. My project was the daily life of the laborers in Iraq and hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to organize the same exhibition back in Iraq,” he told the Georgian journalists. His project aims to show a side of Iraq that rarely - if ever - is reported to the rest of the world: the story of the surprising reversal that Iraq has experienced since 2003. Iraqi Kurdistan used to be the poor region of the country, dominated by the wealthier centre - but now that has changed, making it the most affluent in Iraq. Its economic boom is so great that Arabs are now migrating to the Kurdish region as opposed to the reverse. This is, in turn, changing the demographics and identity not only of the Kurdish region but of the entire country.     
On June 3, the discussion was held with the photo-editor of the Russian Reporter Magazine, Mr.  Andrei Polikanov at National Museum. On the same day, Tbilisi History Museum showcased the expo named “Caucasus”, featuring the portrait of the 19th century.   
The last day of Tbilisi Photo Festival was dedicated to the exhibition of Grozny town, Chechnya,  called “Nine towns”. The slideshows of works of Stanly Green and Yuri Kozirev (Noor), Oxana Yushko, Marina Morina and Olga Kravec that were presented at photography night too, were again shown, accompanied by relevant discussions at National Gallery. Later on, the series of the Iranian photographers under the name “Iran without Masks” also made a strong impression on viewers at Literature Museum. The festival said good bye to photographers and photo-lovers for one year.

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