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Levan Kherkheulidze/ Street Photography

"I am a Photographer. I have been obsessed with photography for 25 years. Yes, obsessed and this assessment is not exaggerated because it is not only a part of my life but also one of the meanings of my life. I don’t think that life has any meaning in itself, i think that every person acquires a certain meaning in their life based on specific goals, aspirations or choices. For me, one such choice is photography, or more precisely, being a photographer. For me, being a photographer means being an observer, - interesting, attentive and empathetic. As far as i remember, I was always observant, this innate quality was further enhanced by photography and it took its role to different degree. In this sense, I can not say that anything has changed during these 25 years, but, my photographic interests have changed. In the beginning the main source of inspiration was street photography. I can not say that it was a fully realized choice, it just came out like that and do you know why? i was very afraid to interact with people at close range. Then i chose, i could not have the discomfort of approaching them and so people turned out to be the helpers of the images and not the main characters. Then i attached great importance to the environment itself, the lighting, the shadows, the contrast or the plasticity, which was not surprising, since i had a special attitude towards the urban landscape (and i still do) - I am an architect by education. I was working with film then and even though there were already colored films, i still chose black and white. I had some distrust of color at that time and was not interested in coloring the spaces around me. I never wanted to paint the environment, that is in a way as the eye could see. From 2002 to 2019, i had to work as a photographer in various print and online publications, and this fact changed a lot. First of all, the fact that a digital camera fell into my hands and this almost instantly made me reject the film. Along with urban landscapes, I became interested in portraits and stories. Most importantly, it helped me get closer to people. It relieved my inner modesty and increased my self-confidence. As a result, i got a story archive diversity. You will be deceived if i say that i am sitting and constantly thinking about some topics, however, sometimes this also happens. I allow myself not to hurry and wait for the impulses coming from inside or outside to make me act. I’m probably a little lazy too, but in this case, it does not cause me any discomfort. I become completely untouched as soon as the shooting starts. In recent years, i have become very interested in photo books and i see my works not as exhibitions, but more as books. Everything has its meaning and weight - both in the

exhibition and in the photo book, but i think the book is still more intimate, one-on-one relationship with author. I have always had a difficult relationship with color. I really liked the color images of some of the photographers, but i could not see my own photography in color. The color disturbed my perception of wholeness, and the black and white image was organic to me. But, there was something even more important: I was always looking for drama in my own and other authors' photos, without which the image would not have excited. Colors for me have always been associated with decoration and realism, something I never liked. It was about everything: portraits, landscapes, urban landscapes, street photography ... I attached great importance to the emotional depth of the image and for some reason it seemed to me that the color image lacked that depth. Now I can safely admit that I was wrong. It seems that at some point I was so tired of my own inner drama that I wanted to get rid of it. The black and white disappeared and the colors invaded. I do not know how much I was able to escape from the drama to the end, but I am very happy to have discovered and fallen in love with the colors that have so enriched my photography palette that I have not lost any depth at all. As time goes on, I become more and more convinced that my photography is primarily an attempt to reflect my inner state and not the reality before me - it is a kind of way to bring it out. I do not think about anything while taking a photo and I am completely immersed in the process, I instinctively follow the flow and only stop when it stops. The premise of any filming is this: everything I get should be of interest and excitement. It is difficult to talk about my own photography and it is doubly difficult to explain what I am trying to say with my works. Maybe not for nothing. I love the process of filming myself and then getting emotional satisfaction with the result. And who perceives what and how depends on the viewer. For me, the only thing that matters is that the photo has an impact. Because it's an unmistakable sign that the image has power."


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