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The eighth edition of Tbilisi Photo Festival opens today with a varied programme ranging from exhibitions to conferences and open-air screenings that will last a whole week. First launched in partnership with Les Rencontres d’Arles, the festival has grown to the extent of becoming one of the most important artistic events in the Caucasus region. An exhibition of Guy Bourdin, a conference by Vivianne Sassen or a photo book festival are only some of the proposals you can’t miss if you’re in the Georgian capital.

This festival, which goes on until the 20th of September, will connect and display topics like fashion, the tradition of identity representation, ideology and the photographic image. One of the best things? That you can see works of big names such as Guy Bourdin and Robert Capa next to lesser known artists from Lithuania, India and Afghanistan. In addition to the exhibitions, there will also be several talks and conferences, and screenings accompanied with live music. To make things easier, we pick our five essentials so you don’t have to. 

Guy Bourdin

The French creative is considered to be one of the most important photographers of the second half of the 20th century, as he has marked contemporary fashion photography and influenced many of his peers through his surreal, enigmatic, and humorous work. This is one of the reasons why an open-air screening of his compositions has become the inauguration act tonight at 8pm, that will be accompanied by one of Georgia’s leading contemporary composers, Nika Machaidze/Nikakoi.

Vivianne Sassen

The Dutch photographer becomes the protagonist of the festival with a double activity. On the one hand, she will exhibit her work at her solo show In and Out of Fashion, held at the G. Leonidze Museum of Georgian Literature inaugurating on the 14th; the day after that, she will give a talk, moderated by Coralie Gauthier – director of exhibitions and programs at the prestigious Parisian club Silencio – in which she’ll discuss everything from photography itself to fashion to how has she broken the rules of representation during these years.

Tbilisi Photo Book

The only fair dedicated to photo books in the entire area of the Caucasus, this proposal is sure one to keep an eye on. From self-published volumes to more professional ones, the event will gather eye candy publications for those lovers of both photography and paper from the 15th to the last day. Originally founded as a way to promote photo books in Georgia, the fair is becoming an unmissable part of the festival – and a great opportunity to find a lovely treasure to put on a shelf.

Night of Photography

During more than five hours, one of the most important and representative activities of the festival will take place at Fabrika, a refurbished sewing factory now working as a creative space. The change of location – these past years it’s been held at the streets of old Tbilisi – is not the only surprise. Institutions such as the British Journal of Photography, the Delhi Photo Festival, the Finish Museum of Photography and the Photo Vogue Festival, to name a few, will be participating in the soirée celebrated on the 16th, which means it’s going to be a great opportunity to discover rather unknown artists from every corner of the globe. 

Robert Capa

The legendary Hungarian photographer, author of some of the most iconic war images of the last century, will be one of the main subjects of the last two days of the festival. The TBC Art Gallery will hold two exhibitions at the same time: on the second floor, the visitors will enjoy the world premiere of Georgian Journey: Robert Capa in Georgia, a show inaugurating on the 18th and displaying the pictures he took while documenting Georgia as part of the USSR during 1947; and on the fourth floor, Russian Journal Revisited will present Capa’s entire material from the trip to the USSR re-explored by Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak and journalist Julius Strauss. In addition, on that same afternoon, there will be a conversation between Dworzak and Cynthia Young, representing the Capa Archives at the International Centre of Photography in New York.

Tbilisi Photo Festival will take place in different locations from Wednesday 13th to Wednesday 20th September in Tbilisi. For more information, check out their webpage.

Eva Abeling
© The Guy Bourdin Estate, 2017 - Courtesy of Art + Commerce, 2017 

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