Snapshot: Natia Rekhviashvili
I live in Tbilisi and do documentary, fashion, portrait, and conceptual photography. I take plenty of pictures on my vacations and job-related trips, and dedicate most of my weekends to photography.
From childhood I was interested in the arts, particularly drawing. My first experience with a camera was when I was 15 and took portraits of my friends by my brother’s Zenit film camera.
At college, I studied drawing, painting, art history, music, and performing arts. I also studied design, created cloths, and organized fashion shows in different places. As a teenager I followed fashion photography by viewing websites and magazines.
After 2008 I became more interested in photography and bought a camera and started taking self-portraits at home with mirrors. For me, mirrors are symbols of physical, emotional, and spiritual reflection.
I am interested in symbolism in art. Images that make us to reflect on ideas or emotions captivate me. Of course, the meanings of any single image are not fixed, they largely depend on the viewer, and are rooted in recreation of emotional experiences through color, line, composition, and the subject.
Landscapes and people in my village were among my first subjects. Some of my artist friends liked my photos and gave me motivation.
I like numbers and problem solving that comes with them. I studied accounting and now my official full-time job is doing finances in “Orbeliani,” an NGO that functions as a platform for individuals to share their diverse ideas for positive action.
I love classical music, old films, dancing, and the nature. I do have various interests, and try to discover new things. People, stories, emotions, and life itself inspire me to continue taking photos.
I develop my work by taking photography workshops, a workshop by Pok Chi Lau was particularly exciting.
Participating in portfolio reviews of Tbilisi Photo Festival, and meeting skilled photographers who love to share their art, energize me. My own intuition also influences me.
I have participated in some local and international photo contests and group exhibitions. Some art blogs, magazines, and local television channels have presented my works. I have never had solo exhibition yet. I do publish photos on my website, blog, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook pages.
In 2013 I was featured on Photo Boîte. Since 2010 they have annually presented 30 young women photographers. I have also been featured by Vogue in Italy, LenseCulture, and The Photographic Museum of Humanity.
I have one digital camera (Nikon D90), and one film camera (Nikon N60), studio lights, backdrops, and a flash (SB-700). I have two lenses, a 18-105mm, and a 50mm f1.8, both are necessary for me.
I have started to photograph old Soviet cars in Georgia, cars with their own stories and interesting owners.
I use natural light, studio continuous light, or flash, rely on remote control to take self-portraits, and edit my pictures in Photoshop.
Occasionally, I get paid by taking photos of weddings, events, fashion shows, portraits, and model portfolios.
So many of my pictures are taken near windows. Windows, for me, could symbolize a desire to reveal the hidden, or to navigate new paths.
Sometimes I work with other photographers, but mostly alone. I think of my photos are part of my life.
Some of my photos are planned and staged, but most of them are instinctual. In my portfolio I have single images as well as projects.
In the project “away” I am standing in groups of people and always looking at the camera. I am expressing moments of feeling lonely in a crowd, of not connected to the group and the place, and of being mentally elsewhere.
I admire the beauty of simplicity, of emptiness, and of places where time passes slowly.
Life is not eternal, it is a journey in time and space, every moment counts, but you can look back.
Beauty sometimes cannot be seen, but can be felt. By beauty I don’t mean only the beauty of visual images, musical tunes, or even spoken or written words.I crave for the ability of accepting an unknown person as someone familiar, of feeling what the other’s heart feels, and capturing it in one moment.
I want to show pain and hopelessness, but also display people’s desire for reducing fear, for making pain disappear, for struggling to change, or just their ability to linger.
Some people I have photographed let me see their very personal lives, told me their stories, and shared their pain.
For me reality has a mystic side, and I want to see if I can experience and show it.
Color is a form of nonverbal communication, and it has its mystical dimensions. Color doesn’t have a static energy, its meaning can change from one day to the next, and from one individual to another.
My favorite painter is Van Gogh. For me, his paintings are unique. I think he has influenced my taste for color.
Light can be used in many ways, it can represent safety, or a goal to be achieved. It can also be used to represent purity and rebirth.
Shadow emerges from the interplay of light and darkness, shadows could also point to the dark side of human nature.
A forest can be symbolic of things we do not know or understand. Traveling through the woods is like traveling through one’s troubled subconscious.
I keep taking pictures of farm animals. For me horses could symbolize personal drive, passion, freedom, love, endurance, devotion, and stability.
A sheep could represent innocence and vulnerability, it can also symbolize a tendency to conform to social norms.
I like cows, for me they may symbolise abundance, fertility, patience, and even holiness.
I love walking in the nature and in rural areas. Often animals look at me as humans do. I have a feeling that they pose when I am photographing them.
A house is an enclosed and protected space, similar to mother’s womb. It is a space that serves to shelter and protect, but it is also a confined area.
Women are agents of peace, production, life, and creation. Women’s bodies, or parts of their bodies, have been subjects of artistic gaze through centuries, sometimes as desexualized symbols of innocence and possibility, but also often as highly unattainable object of desire.
For me children are images of innocence, dependence, and curiosity, and the blue sky symbolizes hope.