George Nebieridze is a Georgian photographer based in Berlin. No Photoshop; just scanning, colors and a magic camera are what make his photography so particular. Everything and everyone in his photographs is 100% real. People in his pictures are photographed in the most awkward and unexpected moments, making the photos amusing, interesting and cool.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I used to be an enthusiast, but then I started to believe that I am a photographer. I have a passion and I follow that passion. I consider my photographs primitive, but at the same time conceptually strong. I love colors, I love people but I don’t like pictures that lack reality. I come from a country called Georgia, but now I live and work in Berlin, a city where everyone is an artist and where it is possible to fully express yourself. Here everything moves quickly and I am trying to catch up. Yet there are no signs of stopping.
When and why did you start taking photographs?
It was kind of inevitable because I grew up in a family of artists. My father is a musician and a painter; my mother’s a painter as well. At the age of 14 my brother gave me a camera and I started shooting. Then I had a small digital camera, which I carried with me at all times to annoyingly shoot everybody in awkward situations. Then I realized that I liked to memorize things through photographs. In the beginning, my photos did not have any artistic value, but then I switched to film photography and they filled up with textures and colors. I started learning more about photography, I had great mentors throughout my career, but I never went to an art school. Generally, I am against art schools and paying a bunch of money for them. I have been taking pictures for almost 10 years now, and I have tried many kinds of photography. When I am broke I sometimes do commercial stuff that I don’t like, but in some ways, it gives me valuable experience and technical knowledge. I don’t use Photoshop, so everything I do is through my camera.
What do you want spectators to feel while observing your photography?
Anything! There is no particular thing I would like them to see or feel. Sometimes people come and tell me, “Oh, George, I see this in your photo or I like this particular thing.” So sometimes I rediscover my works. Of course, I put my message in every photo but it is very interesting to see how others perceive them. I am just showing the way I live; these people, textures, colors and everything else are part of my life. Nothing is staged; it’s just a personal reality. It’s like telling people the story of my life, which I share through my blog and webpage. Some people like to keep everything for themselves but I like being on stage (laughs).
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How often do you take photos?
It happens that I might not touch my camera for weeks if I am busy doing other things or I just don’t feel like it. I take pictures randomly, it just happens when I have my camera with me. Sometimes I find myself in a situation in which I think, “I wish I had my camera here” or sometimes “I wish I didn’t have my camera here.” When I know in advance that the place where I am going to might be very photogenic I take my camera. If it’s not for work purposes, I just keep it in my backpack and shoot whenever I feel like it. If I am at a party I might only take one picture or maybe hundreds – depends on the situation. I find things like drugs, gay culture and sexual liberation very photogenic, maybe because I come from a country where these things are taboo and maybe it’s twice as interesting for me to shoot people in weird sexual situations or under the influence, at least for now.
Do you consider your pictures provocative?
I would say that they are provocative enough. Nevertheless, there are some pictures on my computer that people have not seen yet, which at this stage I find highly provocative, but in a few years time I might laugh and think that they are not that provocative in the end. I am trying to find a balance; I sometimes wonder whether to show society very private stuff – sometimes I do and it’s intriguing. People in my photographs are mainly my friends or friends of my friends. They like their photos but sometimes they don’t want to be exposed. Still, most of the time they give me the freedom to make those photos public for the sake of art, beauty and friendship.
What is your favorite color?
I’d say all of the colors or none of them. To me, colors always depend on the context. Any color can be astonishing if you put it in the right context. I made a little series a couple years ago, called Red panic alarm, where I concentrated on red. I photographed red details around me. All my photos were vertical and there would always be red in the middle. Sometimes it can be irritating too, as it’s too flashy. Every mood has a color for me, sometimes I feel white, sometimes black; depends on the state I am in.
“I find things like drugs, gay culture and sexual liberation very photogenic.”
Could you name a famous person you would like to take pictures of? 
Generally, I don’t like taking pictures of celebrities, though I have shot them on many occasions. I prefer taking very intimate and personal photos of people that I know or have many things in common with. Yet there are some interesting characters in the art world I’d like to be friends with, and definitely, after that, I would have taken pictures of them, like musician Diamanda Gallas or Richard D. James (aka Aphex Twin).
Do you have any ongoing projects?
I am currently working on the book of my photographs. The cover and the pictures are ready to be published. It is called’15, a retrospective of my work in 2015. It’s a selection of pictures taken over the course of one year in Berlin, Paris, and Sweden. The book examines color, textures and forms. The way photos are laid out creates the impression of an animation or a movie with constantly moving photographs. The project is supported by the Nederlands Fotomuseum.
Do your photos tell particular stories? Would you like to share some? 
Story #1: I’m going to tell you the story of Megan. Megan is a very interesting person, she is a singer and an artist, but a witch at the same time. She believes in magic and does many weird things. She has bizarre opinions about sex and she is very pretty. I was once at her place; we were drinking and I took a photo of her in the kitchen while dancing to really weird music. She asked me to stay, and I was into her, but at one point I was so scared that I left (laughs).
Story #2: A couple of months ago I had my 7th solo exhibition in Rotterdam. Among the visitors, there were two people in their eighties, who I randomly caught kissing passionately outside of the gallery. I was thinking about how beautiful it was to live such a passionate romance in their age. I approached them with my camera and asked them to kiss each other again so that I could photograph them. They said they were not kissing, and that is when I guessed they were secretly in love, hiding an affair. They immediately started to pretend they were just friends. Isn’t it amazing, being secretly in love at the age of 80? What I could make of this situation is this photograph, where you can see a beautiful lie in their smiles.
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