The amazing story of Tata – A girl rediscovered in Svaneti 14 years later
16 October, 2014
The amazing story of Tata – A girl rediscovered in Svaneti 14 years later
Aaron Huey, photographer for National Geographic, took a photo of a little Svanetian girl named Tata in 1999. She was only eight years old back then… The photographer visited Svaneti several times afterwards, looking for a bright-eyed Georgian girl, but failed to find her. However, fortune smiled upon him during his last visit in 2013, and he finally found Tata again. Her new photos caused quite an uproar on National Geographic’s webpage. In a few hours, a photo of Tata
accumulated more than 129,000 “likes.”
We found the famous photographer’s Georgian muse and decided to introduce her to our readers in greater detail.


TATA PILPANI,
22 years old:

– 14 years ago, I was visiting my mother’s family in Deduleti, Lenjeri. Aaron was there too. I was eight years old back then, but I still remember how charmed he was by my eyes. He kept complimenting me on them and asking to let him snap a photo of them. I don’t remember what else he said, though. I was very little…

– You didn’t get to see the photo he took, did you?

– I did, in fact. He sent me two copies through the family that hosted me. Naturally, I preserved them like treasure. I know that Aaron loves Svaneti and Georgia in general. I was told that he was looking for me, carrying my photo around and showing it to everyone. But I wasn’t in Svaneti when he visited in 2012, so we failed to meet again.

– How did you meet in 2013, then?

– By accident. I had a visitor from Tbilisi and we were up on a Svan tower to enjoy the view. It turned out that he was also in Svaneti and on that same tower. My relatives told me that he was looking for me, so I came up and asked him, “Are you Aaron Huey?”
“Yes”, - he replied. I remembered his face very well. “I am the one whom you took a photo of 14 years ago” – I told him. He was very surprised.
“Are you Tata?” – he asked, bewildered. His reaction was the same as the one I remembered when he saw me 14 years ago. There was no limit to his happiness. He immediately took a photo of me and thus made a photo collage with the old and new photos.

– Did he tell you that you retained your childhood face?

– No. He told me with a smile that I have changed.

– You discovered that you are popular thanks to the internet, right?

– Yes. He took the photo of me in 2013 and I found out about this only now, in October 2014, by accident. I’ve seen these two photos on the internet before but not in newspapers. My family and relatives liked the first photo, but they really didn’t expect it to be followed by another. There are many jokes circulating about my newfound popularity now. I could never imagine that a simple photo of me would attract the entire world’s attention. I like taking photos myself, although I am an amateur, so I decided not to tell Aaron about my hobby…
National Geographic has published similar photos before, when a journalist took a photo of an Afghan girl in a Pakistani refugee camp in 1985. The girl’s huge, beautiful eyes attracted the entire world’s attention back then as well.

Related story:

Meeting after 14 years: National Geographic photo reporter repeats journey to Svaneti

Print
Other Stories
Svaneti – the most untouched place by the outside world
French photographer Julien Pebrel traveled to Georgia last summer.
5 must-see lesser-known places in Kakheti
Kakheti is located in the eastern part of Georgia.
Euronews: "Batumi as a center of youth culture"
Euronews has recently published an article about Batumi, a seaside town in Georgia.
Russian tourist in Batumi explains why Russians should not come to Georgia
It has been more than a week since demonstrations have started in Tbilisi and are held daily.
How "Spend Your Summer in Georgia" campaign started?
The group includes around 207 000 members of Facebook and it has been only couple of days since the campaign was launched.
Why Georgia? – Photographer Eddy Li speaks about his experience
As the number of tourists coming to Georgia rises, so does the number of international photographers.
Visit Gudamakari surrounded by the Greater Caucasus Mountains
Gudamakari is a historical area in northeastern Georgia surrounded by Mtiuleti, Khevi, Khevsureti and Pshavi (slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains).
Georgia among Eid Al Fitr destinations
Where to mark Eid Al Firt? This is the question many of the residents of the Arabian countries will ask themselves as soon as Ramadan is over.
Visit Turtle Lake via the renovated cable car
If you are in Tbilisi and looking for a quiet place surrounded by the greenery, Georgian Journal will show you a perfect option.
5 places to visit for entertainment in Tbilisi
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia offers a lot of options to those visitors who love to go out, have fun and enjoy the active part of the city.
4 reasons why Georgia should be your next destination by Ftnnews
Ftnnews, a website about traveling has recently published an article about why Georgia should be travelers’ next destination.
Georgia and Ukraine have nothing in common when it comes to traveling
Kyiv Post has recently devoted an article to Georgia.
Former Swiss Ambassador to Georgia Lukas Beglinger settles down in Ujarma
Lukas Beglinger, a former ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia has left the homeland to live in Georgia.
The New York Times about Lelo Burti, Georgian folk game
The New York Times has recently dedicated an article to the Georgian folk game Lelo Burti.
Matador Network: Why you need to see Tbilisi before everybody else
Matador Network published an article “Why you need to see Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, before everybody else” two days ago.
Tbilisi’s Architectural Revival
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia is distinguished by a number of features making the city a unique combination of a modern and old.
History of ancient trade centers in Tbilisi
Bazaar has always played an important role in the life of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
Batumi’s sky turned pink on Saturday
The sky of Georgia’s beautiful seaside town, Batumi turned pink two days ago.
Bakhmaro – Unique resort with healing properties
Bakhmaro located in Guria (western Georgia) is one of the healthiest resorts of the country.
How Georgia celebrates Easter
Easter is the most significant day for the Christian world.
Get to know Georgian Inventor Students travelling to NASA Space Center
Sophio Chikhladze (Guivy Zaldastanishvili American Academy), Mariam Gamrekelashvili, Giorgi Rigishvili, Aleksandre Kajaia (School AIA-GESS) and Iona Iobidze (Kutaisi School Progress)
Georgian village, where nearly everybody could sing
It became necessary to construct a new building for a hotel
One Night Trip to Breathtaking Kazbegi
Georgian photographer Giorgi Shermazanashvili has recently visited Kazbegi
Atlas Obscura about the Foundation of Tbilisi and Sulfur Baths
Atlas Obscure has recently devoted an article to the sulfur baths in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
5 facts about Georgian wine
Georgia claims to be the cradle of wine.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
16.07.2019
17.07.2019
USD
1
USD
2.8555
2.8555
EUR
1
EUR
3.2210
3.2210
GBP
1
GBP
3.5862
3.5862
RUB
100
RUB
4.5596
4.5596