(lalettredelaphotographie.com) After the success of last year’s exhibition of the photographs from the collection of the nineteenth-century photographer, Dimitry Ermakov, the Tbilisi Photo Festival is pleased to continue uncovering Georgia’s rich photographic heritage. This year, the Festival has organised an exhibition of nineteenth-century Caucasus portraits. The photographs are a journey through time and a cultural mosaic of the peoples of this diverse region.
The images range from a Georgian princess in Kutaisi to wealthy Armenian merchants in Tbilisi to a Kurd serving in the Russian army. There are dervishes, Dukhobors (Russian "old believers"), Jews from northern Caucasus as well as Tatar women in chadors. It is a remarkable time capsule, made richer by the contrast between the beautiful diversity of the subjects and the static backdrop of the “portrait cabinet” in the form of a painted scene depicting the snowy peaks of the Caucasus. These images of nineteenth-century Tbilisi are a miniature record of Georgia’s ethnic and cultural diversity with their subjects attired in their best Sunday clothes, conscious of being recorded for history.
In a wonderful return to this tradition, a portrait cabinet will be set up at the entrance to the exhibition in Tbilisi’s old Caravanserai, open to the public, with some great names in contemporary photography taking turns portraying all those who wish to have their portrait taken.
Caucasus – 19th century Portraits
June 3 to June 25, 2012
Tbilisi History Museum