/ Arnis Balčus / Interview

10 minutes with Nestan Nijaradze

Nestan Nijaradze (1971) is a Georgian curator of photography, co-founder of the Tbilisi Photo Festival, an annual international photography festival in the capital of Georgia, and currently its Artistic Director. Over the last five years the festival has showcased work by many internationally acclaimed photographers such as Antoine D’Agata, Boris Mikhailov and Martin Parr. Additionally, Nijaradze has been a curator of numerous photo exhibitions and photo projects in Georgia and abroad. She also writes about photography and works as a presenter on TV programmes on culture and visual arts on Georgian national television. She is one of the experts of the Riga Photomonth portfolio review, where a limited number of places are still available.

How did the festival start?

The Tbilisi Photo Festival was founded in 2010 by French photographer Lionel Charrier and me. Since the very beginning the main partner of the festival was Les Rencontres d’Arles.

The key idea behind the festival was to make Tbilisi a central meeting point for photography from different regions – Asia, Iran, Turkey, Russia and the Arab world, as well as to showcase the best of the world’s photography and to promote emerging regional photography.

What have been the biggest challenges over the years?

From year to year the biggest challenge is to face the lack of financial support from governmental structures and to be obliged to come up with new solutions for bringing the best photography of the world to the Tbilisi Photo Festival. It is also a challenge to support emerging regional photography and to maintain the quality of the festival despite the existing problems.

Can you name three aspects that make the Tbilisi Photo festival special?

The quality of photography that the Tbilisi Photo Festival stands for, the magic of the place where the festival is held – Tbilisi, and the dedicated team.

How would you describe the photography scene in Georgia in general?

Since the end of the 20th century, photography has become the most popular art form in Georgia and attracts huge audiences. Currently Georgian photography is experiencing the period of the New Wave. A new generation of young artists from the post-Soviet period is referring to photography as a perfect tool for visual storytelling, as well as the perception and interpretation of reality.

How do you see the festival in 10 years?

In 10 years the 17th edition of the Tbilisi Photo Festival will be held in the wonderful capital of Georgia, attracting regional and international audiences with its abundant and outstanding programme!