Wednesday, July 04, 2012

PHOTOGRAPHY: Not One Moment, but Years. Interview with Temo Bardzimashvili. By By Zara Katz (

( Temo Bardzimashvili, a freelance photographer, received his master’s degree in 2009 from the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management. He has published work in The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, The Financial Times and The National, an English-language newspaper in Abu Dhabi. Mr. Bardzimashvili lives in Tbilisi, Georgia.

His conversation with Zara Katz has been edited.

Q. What is going on in this image?
A. I took this during the celebration of Ramadan in Azerbaijan. It is in an Azeri village where I was working on a project about Meskhetian Turks last year. In this village, most of the population is Azeri but about 25 percent are Meskhetian. This image is describing the end of the Ramadan prayer. In this mosque, most of the worshipers are Meskhetian.

Q. Why did you choose this image?
A. I can’t say that this is my favorite image but it is symbolic for me. It represents the multi-layeredness of images. I like images that people tend to return to, when the viewer is struck not only by the visual attractiveness, but also the tiny details that they discover later. Also, this particular photograph symbolizes quite a long time. It is not one particular moment that creates this image, but the whole period of time taking photos.

Nasrollah Kasraian: Celebration of Pir-e-Shahriar festival in the village of Oraman, Iran. Inspiration: From “Our Homeland Iran”
Photographer: Nasrollah Kasraian
I have taken pictures in different mosques and prayers during the last five years. Sometimes when you take a picture you try to concentrate on one element, like shoes. When people enter a mosque, they take their shoes off. It is visually attractive. Shoes are symbolic – they represent the worshiper. Of course I have taken pictures with shoes in mosques. But in this picture, I saw elements of all my previous mosque pictures and prayer pictures.

Q. When did you first see this photo?
A. I discovered him a year and a half ago during a trip to Tehran. I was looking for a photo book that was about Tehran and was lucky to come across this book called “Our Homeland Iran.” He is one of the greatest photographers that I have seen. He is really deep and operates with colors very well.

Most important for me was something that I discovered later when I checked on his background: He is one of those photographers who works on long-term projects. It took him 10 to 12 years to make this book. He said he worked on this photograph for two years to take this particular image. He was looking for the right situation and the right light.

Q. How did this image influence your work?
A. Most of the time we take snapshots. There might be good snapshots, but we don’t let ourselves work on images for a sufficient amount of time. To me, the Kasraian picture is a long-term picture. He had taken other pictures from other ceremonies which led to this image.

Working for a long time is not the only means of taking a good picture. Also, getting close to people. In order to get a deep picture you have to go through some stages to get there.

Just like Kasraian, I like to work on covering different ethnicities and traditions. Kasraian took an image of not a single person, but an ethnic group.

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