Tuesday, September 05, 2017

PRESS RELEASE: The Tbilisi Photo Festival 2017 - Opening Week September 13 - 20

For its 8th edition The Tbilisi Photo Festival, the premier showcase for regional and international photography in the Caucasus, is back with its most provocative and diverse program to date! The central theme of festival 2017 is fashion! Fashion is, after all, a genuine representation of identity.

The festival program will emphasize all existing connections between fashion, the tradition of identity representation, ideology and the photographic image.

From Guy Bourdin’s seductive avant-garde photographs to Viviane Sassen’s daring approach to fashion images and the extremely rare collection of East German fashion photography from the Stasi period (1970s), as well as never-before-seen pre-Islamic revolution Iranian Fashion magazines, the week-long festival of shows, events and talks once again breaks new ground in subjects, styles and ways of seeing.

For it’s 8th edition, TPF is proud to host the world premier exhibition of Russian Journal Revisited by Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak and British writer Julius Strauss. 70 years later they travel in the footsteps of famous American writer John Steinbeck and Magnum agency co-founder Robert Capa, who visited and documented life in Georgia, Ukraine and Russia two years after the end of World War II.

Another 2017 highlight of the TPF program is the exhibition-tribute to the late American photojournalist and co-founder of Noor Images, Stanley Greene. Curated by Anna Shpakova, “See You in My Dreams”: Intimate Diary of Stanley Greene is a presentation of Stanley Greene’s unseen series of polaroids and personal letters.

Now in its eighth year, the Tbilisi Photo Festival has ensured its place as a must-stop meeting-point for photography and photographers from across Asia, the Middle East and Europe.


Fashion Photography
The 2017 Tbilisi Photo Festival starts off with fashion photography and the work of Guy Bourdin and Viviane Sassen, both of whom are shown in the Caucasus for the first time.

Guy Bourdin, Avant-Garde

Guy Bourdin is definitely one of the “most important photographers of the second half of the twentieth century.” An autodidact artist, he re-defined the contours of contemporary fashion photography. For more than 40 years, his sublime iconic images - surreal, enigmatic, and humorous, are timeless and have had a major influence on the works of generations of photographers. TPF will inaugurate its 8th edition with an outstanding open air event that will combine the screening of Guy Bourdin’s work with a live music performance of Nika Machaidze/Nikokoi – one of Georgia’s leading contemporary composers and artists.

Viviane Sassen. In And Out Of Fashion

The Dutch star of fashion photography - Viviane Sassen has broken all the rules of contemporary fashion photography and challenged the way we see fashion in the context of our complex modern world. “Her images are complex, unexpected and breathtaking, and they are many conceptual leaps away from the mainstay approaches to fashion that have dominated the 21st century so far” Extract from In and out of Fashion, Bright Star by Charlotte Cotton.

Identities is a captivating group of shows that focuses on traditions and ways identity have been represented in the photographic image. Many of these are “found” images, several collections have never been seen before, while others have been published online or in book form. This series is noteworthy for its brazen humor and impact as a chronicle of the human condition: • Renowned Lithuanian photographer, Vitas Luckus’s series of portraits In Front of the White Screen (1987); • A stunning collection of studio portraits from 1970s central India by Suresh Punjabi, from the project Studio Suhag; • Never-before-seen pre- Islamic revolution Iranian fashion magazines; • Portraits of the Taliban found and collected in Afghanistan by Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak in early 2000s; • Bikini Collection from the private Trophy Collection of the Soviet Soldier (1950s); • Unveiled images of couples photographed in Iranian photo studios before the revolution; Extremely rare collection of fashion photography from East Germany by Gunter Roubitcz (1960s-1970s); • The Circle of Life, a collection of portraits of the inhabitants of Blenio Valley in Switzerland from 1910-25 by Swiss photographer Roberto Donetta. These along with other series are all part of Identities, one of the week’s great highlights for festival 2017.

Identities. Taliban. Collection of Thomas Dworzak/Magnum Photos  
See You In My Dreams!
Stanley Greene’s Intimate Diary
Curated by Anna Shpakova

Co-founder of the prestigious Noor agency, American photographer Stanley Greene started out as a fashion photographer but made a name for himself as a prominent war photographer.

Regarded as the “poet photojournalist,” Greene died in May 2017. Tbilisi Photo Festival presents a tribute to a dear friend and defender of the Caucasus. Anna Shpakova, a long-time friend of Stanley Greene and a curator of the exhibition explains, “For most (he is) a legendary photographer whose war and social injustice coverage will forever stay in the history of photography... For me, (he is) a master of the eminent world I am grateful to be part of... Countless letters and polaroids are evidence of a romance at a time when we were oblivious to the world falling.”

See You In My Dreams! features 30 letters and Polaroids that appeared in the spring and summer of 2001 “Only accompanists of a romance, are becoming a narration, allowed us to penetrate, without being the voyeurs, to the singular rhythm of Stanley Greene,” Anna Shapokova says. This exhibition is a personal, heartfelt presentation of the man; not a display of his work.

Russian Journal Revisited by Thomas Dworzak and Julius Strauss

In 1947, American writer John Steinbeck and Magnum photographer Robert Capa set out to objectively document the USSR. Their journey took them to Russia, Ukraine and Georgia. 70 years later, Magnum Photographer Thomas Dworzak and British journalist Julius Strauss have teamed up to re-explore the 1947 journey with the same original aim Steinbeck described as, "honest reporting, to set down what we saw and heard without editorial comment, without drawing conclusions about things we didn't know sufficiently." TPF is proud to host the world premier exhibition of this bold project, which will prove to be a deeply perceptive comparison and contrast of the times.

Georgian Journey: Robert Capa in Georgia - the collection of Robert Capa’s 1947 images from Georgia will be also featured in the 2017 program of Tbilisi Photo Festival 2017.

Night of Photography 2017 at Fabrika
Open Air Night Screenings

Tbilisi Photo Festival continues its tradition of conducting open air night-time screenings of first-class photography from around the world. This year, however, the Night of Photography moved from the streets of Old Tbilisi to a refurbished Soviet sewing factory called Fabrika - a creative multi-purpose urban space situated in a historical neighborhood. The work of over 350 photographers will be featured on the screens set up on Fabrika’s roof, as well as in the laid back lobby of its hostel, and in the generous courtyard, surrounded by restaurants and bars - and even in hostel dorm room 137.

The Eye of Photography, British Journal of Photography, Photo Vogue Festival, Delhi Photo Festival, Finish Museum of Photography, Ibasho Gallery with the selection of Japanese female photographers and some other, are joining the program of the Tbilisi Night of Photography for the first time in 2017. The Night of the Year of Les Rencontres d’Arles has also returned to Tbilisi. A selection of slideshows will be screened in memory of the late Claudine Maugendre, who had been Artistic Director of the Night of the Year of Les Rencontres d’Arles for many years. Lensculture is again part of the Night –second year in a row. The selection of works of emerging Georgian Fashion photographers, Belarusian artists, emerging Dutch photographers, Vasa project with Kharkov Photography School, in addition to many others, will be featured on the Tbilisi Night of Photography 2017.

Night of Photography will be screened on opening week Saturday, September 16th from 20.00 to 01.30 @ Fabrika.

Vlisco at Tbilisi Photo Festival 2017

Georgia’s vibrant and dynamic fashion industry has lately found its place on the world map of fashion. To celebrate this and to underline Georgia’s stature as “new capital of fashion in Eastern Europe,” Tbilisi Photo Festival has invited Vlisco, the Dutch textile brand with a renowned 170 history as leader in print design using batik technique in West Africa, for a new collaboration with emerging Georgian designer, Lasha Devdariani, and Georgian fashion photographer, Luisa Chalatashvili. The collection will be presented in the event Vlisco, A Unique Fashion Story, along with a public lecture on design at Vlisco by Gabriela Sancez y Sancez de la Barquera, Vlisco in-house designer.

A conversation with Viviane Sassen

Coralie Gauthier, Director of Exhibitions and Programs at the prestigious Parisian club Silencio, designed by David Lynch, and the exclusive underground Paris club Salo, and founder of Since 1977, will moderate a conversation with Dutch fashion photographer Viviane Sassen.

Magnum Photos 70 at 70

2017 is Magnum Photo’s seventyyear anniversary. To commemorate its birthday, the world’s leading photo agency is curating seventy iconic images by seventy of its photographers that will be part of a screening with live music at Tbilisi Photo Festival 2017 at the stylish Rooms Hotel Garden.

Capa Curator Cynthia Young (ICP) on Robert Capa and Russian Journal

The year Magnum was founded was the same year Capa and Steinbeck made their landmark journey to the USSR, just two years after the end of World War II. Cynthia Young, representing the Capa Archives at the International Centre of Photography in New York, will give a talk about Capa and the Russian Journal. Ms. Young will also have a conversation with Thomas Dworzak.

The Art of Fashion Photography with Patrick Remy

French fashion photography critic Patrick Remy is known for his book series, Fashion Images de Mode and Strip/Paradise/Desire/Sensation (Steidl). Remy has also published photographer’s monographs and organized photo exhibitions in Miami, Tokyo and Melbourne. For TPF, Patrick Remy will be talking about fashion photography and the books of fashion photography.

Photography in the Margins: The Material History of an Indian Studio

Anthropologist and art historian, Professor Christopher Pinney is Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture at University College London. He is a specialist for his studies on the visual culture of South Asia, specifically India, and is also curator of the Suhag Studio show, which is the part of our Identities program.

The Delhi Photo Festival & Photography from India by Dinesh Khanna

Dinesh Khanna is a photographer and co-founder of the Delhi Photo Festival, one of the most respected photo festivals in India. Mr. Khanna explains that India is a vast and diverse country of many languages and ethnicities, yet its arts and traditions are steeped in the visual. “In such a nation, photography and the image were bound to be an integral 'language' for social, political and economic conversations,” he says. TPF is eager to have Dinesh Khanna in Tbilisi to present these visual stories to help us understand the rich world of Indian photography.

Tbilisi Photo Festival Book Fair

Tbilisi Photo Book is the first and only photography book fair in the entire South Caucasus region. It was founded by Tbilisi Photo Festival to promote the production of photo books in Georgia. The collection includes photo books from Japan, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine, France, India, Iran - and many other countries - as well as self-published books selected by our guests and the curatorial team.

At this old crossroads between East and West, the Tbilisi Photo Festival has become a new destination for the world’s photographers, bringing together the best images of the region and far beyond, transforming Tbilisi into photography capital of Caucasus.

Tbilisi Photo Festival 2017
September 13 - 20
Night of Photography on September 16

Elina Valaite
Program Coordinator


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