Exibart Street Contest 2018 Finalists – Interview to Giorgi Zatiashvili

You are one of the 11 finalists of the first Exibart Street Contest.
We received thousand of images from more than 100 countries all over the world, it’s an important result! How do you feel about it?

Thank you! It’s always pleasent and motivating when somebody likes your work.

Can you tell us something about yourself?

My name is Giorgi Zatiashvili and I’m 21 years old.

I’m from a city which I think is getting interesting in art past few years – Tbilisi, Georgia. Beside photography, I’m into a film and
music video directing, editing and sound recording. Also, photography is a great source of film ideas for me.

What led you to begin doing street photography in the first place?

From skateboarding I came to filming and from filming to photography. I’m still in both of them. So, I think skateboarding took me to the streets and also to the right society where I met my friends.

Also, I love walking lonely in a city. I can think a lot when I’m walking. Then I added photo camera with me and pleasure was doubled, when the city is unfamiliar pleasure is tripled.

How would you define your photographic style?

Actually, I shot my first interesting photo with my friend’s camera. Then he gave it to me. It defined my technical style, but it was a right one.

When I was child I was starting to draw something on a paper. I didn’t knew what it was, just lines and stuff. At the end, form of the
drawing was getting to a something familiar. Same thing happen into photography, I went out and started to catch things that was interesting or recognizable for me, at the end results were pretty good. Developing your taste with your experience and also with viewing all the stuff on internet is essential.

I can’t define my photography style now, because I didn’t get it yet, it is all about taste, passion and way of doing. Furthermore, I’m still new at photography so I have a lot of time to transform my style.

Although, sometimes I love when a photo doesn’t has a plot. It’s like movie, you don’t remember the story, but you remember it was good, you remember it’s mood and attitude.
And I love photos which are able to recall past like specific music, smell or location can.

“Sometimes I love when a photo doesn’t has a plot. It’s like movie, you don’t remember the story, but you remember it was good, you remember it’s mood and attitude. And I love photos which are able to recall past like specific music, smell or location can.”

What kind of equipment do you use and what role, in your opinion, does equipment have in street photography?

Mostly, I use Canon 7D with Sigma 18-35mm lens, because my friend gave it to me and I’m thankful about it , but actually it’s not a comfortable camera for street photography.

Size of a camera is really important. When you shoot people, they recognize you and it causes some troubles or it’s not natural anymore. Digital cameras like Sony a7III or Leica CL is very comfortable for street photography.

Have you ever studied at a photography school or are you a self-taught artist?

At the moment, I’m studying in a local film school. But in a different field – Sound design. In fact, I’m interested in every component of filmmaking.

“Color is a useful perceptual feature for visual communication. There is a big field/opportunities between colors and mood or meanings.”

How important are social media in your work? Which one do you prefer and why?

Social media is the online exhibition platform. It gives you opportunities to show your work to a lot of people easily. That’s why photo exhibitions are not that interesting nowadays, if it has no elements of art installation. But, I think that online, when you upload a photo, you
have to pay the same attention that you have in an exhibition.

I generally use Instagram, because it’s a photo platform and most of my friends are there. If you have daily photos which you wouldn’t put in your portfolio, you can upload it on Instagram Stories and so on. It’s comfortable and you can have a lot of interesting artist on feed.

If you had to choose one lens that you would have to be using for the rest of your life, which one would that be and why?

I’m familiar with lens I use now – Sigma 35mm. As I mentioned, It’s big for streets.
Something like this, but small with a size.

Analog and digital photography. Do you see these as alternatives to one another or the same thing?

Of course there is a difference. And difference is a style. It’s decisive to know what “texture” do you want on your image. It depends on what feel you want to get, what mood you are on while shooting or what object you shoot. I like film on portraits, for example cameras like Mamiya 645 or Pentax 67. Mostly, I like little grain on face portraits currently.

At the same time, I prefer using digital cameras in street. It gives you more opportunity.

What, do you think, is the main reason why some photographers opt for film during the digital era we live in?

Mood, atmosphere, style, color, emotion – that photographers have in their imagination and that gives them aesthetic pleasure – matches film sometimes.
Beside that, the whole process of printing in the darkroom is pleasurable and interesting.

Black and white and color? How do you decide which one to use?

Regularly, I use color. Color is a useful perceptual feature for visual communication. There is a big field/opportunities between colors and mood or meanings.

For some photographers black and white is more emotional, that’s why they use it. When taking photos like this, gradations of tones must be interesting and that’s not easy. I like color, but if I will take photos in B&W, I will do it because of current idea.

Is there a country or a city that you like to photograph more than others?

Every new place can be interesting to shoot. I can do few selections. The first one is the Mexico city style, with all that colors and cars. The second one – Asian modern cities, which are technologically advanced. For example – Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul and for sure Pyongyang (North Korea).

For Street Photographers maybe the streets of New York and Berlin are always interesting for a long time.

Which differences exist between the different countries you visited?

I haven’t been in many places yet.
But, there is a lot of difference and it’s hard to list all of those cultural or just visual contrast.
I remember, during all my childhood I was watching out of my window. Once I appeared in a same room, but one floor above. I was empressed how different it was. A different angle of the same place already creates differences, so changing locations the differences

Additionaly you don’t know what reaction to expect from people. Some of them are very rude and some of them pleasent. Sometimes it depends on place, sometimes not. Intimacy must be very accurate.

When you take photos, do you ever have a theme/project in mind?

Mostly not. If any light, color, character or form catches my attention, I realize something good can come out. Then, if some of my snapped photos topic stuck in my mind, I look for it in the streets. An example can be a series about “Lampposts”.

Are you currently working on any project?

Yes, I’m thinking about starting new series.

Are there any photographers or artists who inspired you or influenced your way of creating street photography?

There is a big list. And it’s hard to write all of them. There are lots of photographers from whom I have seen only one photo. I was impressed by work of Bresson, Salgado, Webb and many others Magnum photographers. I love the Raymond Depardon’ style.

Also painters like Vermeer and a lot of films. One of them is Roy Andersson’s “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence”. Great Cinematography.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting to do street photography?

My advice is to see a lot of photographs, paintings and films. No matter if somebody said it’s bad to be influenced by others, everybody has own visual preference. It is good for your enthusiasm.

Get inspiration from other artists and then think why it is interesting for you. When you’ll see that kind of light or composition in the streets you’ll know that’s something attractive. The way you do it is personal. And don’t forget that every specific detail is important.

Thank you!

Thank you for making this kind of contest.


My name is Giorgi Zatiashvili and I’m 21 years old. I’m based in Tbilisi,Gerogia. Photography is interesting communication for me and it’s great tool for expressing my thoughts, emotions, mood or taste. Also, It’s a great source of film idea for me. Beside that, I’m into a film and music video directing/editing.

Instagram: @giorgi_zatiashvili

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