Georgia is not just about monasteries, wine, and post-Soviet buildings, but also about an increasingly popular artistic and cultural scene. This vibrant country nestled in the Caucasus offers a curious fusion of the traditional and the contemporary, thanks to the ever-more-present fervent dialogue between the magical East and the innovative West. Scrolling through the Instagram account @tbilisi.collective reveals a blend of just that, which, as you might quickly discover, is much more than meets the eye.
Tbilisi Collective is a contemporary photography collection that captures the everyday life of the Georgian people through the lens of emerging and amateur photographers. The account is run by curators Elene Datusani and Sopho Kharazi, whose work is perfectly reflected through a conscious concept and tasteful selection. Their aim is to support up and coming photographers, while also creating a social dialogue. From the outside, we can also observe that this can play an important role in promoting the cultural image of Georgia and the “Caucasian aesthetic”.
The idea of creating the Tbilisi Collective was born out of the creative crisis, caused primarily by the pandemic. “During that period, it became almost impossible to find inspiration and meet people with common interests, not to mention other unfortunate aspects. In addition, the content that we saw everywhere was mostly the things that were happening or the distractions that would make us forget. We wanted to create a platform that would give people a breath of fresh air, inspiration, and enthusiasm to create and document experiences, capture surroundings and memories, and then share the photos with a community that would appreciate them,” the curators explain.
“You know that feeling when you see something, it can be a person, or maybe a painting, film, you can’t quite put a name on it, as to why you like it, why you dig it, but it kinda lights up something in you. It can sadden you, make you laugh, make you think, or even just satisfy you with how visually pleasing it is. That’s how we select photos, we look for that special something.” As for photographers, the site is not focused on professionals, artists, or content creators, but rather people who are connected by a shared interest in photography and exploration, regardless of their professional backgrounds. Tbilisi Collective helps bridge the gap between professional and amateur photographers and allows those interested in photography to pragmatically assess their potential. “There is this prejudice in Georgia that one has to have professional education to become an acclaimed photographer. However, our account aims to empower amateur photographers who might be taking high-quality photos or videos filled with character, even if made with a phone camera, and without any academic background,” say Elene and Sopho about the importance of this phenomenon.
The essence of photography here is the observation of everyday life. The concept of monthly themes provides an opportunity to motivate the community. By exploring specific themes, they can collect memories, observe their surroundings, or even challenge photographers, encouraging them to engage in more photography.
The account offers a complex artistic panorama from the curators’ point of view. In addition to photo themes and an exciting Insta-feed, followers will also be introduced to additional content: music recommendations, Spotify playlists, exhibition promotions, and personal profiles of photographers.
Another priority of the Tbilisi Collective is to explore different social, cultural, architectural, or urban issues in Georgia. According to Sopho and Elene, photography as a visual analytical tool can raise awareness and foster a sense of public responsibility.
The photos, which range between bittersweet, trashy, bohemian, and sometimes even nostalgic, help bring art to the most unexpected moments and give viewers a new perspective on how to make sense of everyday life. If you’re in the mood to scroll, here’s your chance, and don’t forget to follow Tbilisi Collective on Instagram!
Tbilisi Collective | Instagram