Interview with David Meskhi


Mariam Loria – How/why did you start taking photos?

David Meskhi – Perhaps as everyone I started photographing because of curiosity. But it was a creative curiosity. At different stages of my life I had different interests that I thought would be my professions, first it was music, afterwards film directing but at last I carried out my creative interests through photography.

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M.L. – How did you become an independent photographer? Where did you work? What did you capture?

D.M. – I always captured my interests, the events which were happening around me and the things I knew well. At first, it became popular in the circle of my friends and then, in 2004, I started working for the magazine Tskheli Shokoladi. I worked there for six years.

M.L. – Where do you get your inspiration from?

D.M. – Everything can become a source of inspiration from a street to Internet.

M.L. – Who/what influences you as a photographer?

D.M. – Firstly, as my works are related to photo representations, films and photos taken by others, as well as images during reading books influence me.

M.L. – Who are your favorite photographers?

I liked Leni Riefenstahl, Nan Goldin and Tillmans, Larry Clark the most and I exactly under their influence desired to take photos, only then I realized what photography can do.

M.L. – How did your works get at the exhibition outside of Georgia?

D.M. – I got there via internet. There were several websites where I viewed photos. I sent my photos to the website tinyvices. They liked them and posted on their website. Many people viewed the photos and I was offered to participate in a group exhibition. It was followed by publications which were posted in various art books and magazines. I say it because photo exhibition does not mean your photo to be hung on a well. I consider that a book and print media are the ways of presenting and exhibiting your artwork.

M.L. – What kind of processes take place before a frame becomes an artwork? Tell me about your working process… Do you predetermine the form of the frame at the exhibition? Do you imagine beforehand what form the frame will take at the exhibition?

D.M. – The more time passes, the more this process becomes related to film directing. When you know what to capture and you try to create the atmosphere. Afterwards, I hang photos taken in different periods of time and then try to find links between them like an investigator. I try to discover links between them and to make a history from this process which is the result of research.

M.L. – Several themes are dominated in your photo project. Do you work on them simultaneously? What is the relationship between them?

D.M. – At first I worked on each theme separately and these photos were separated. After an “investigation” I discovered that the thing I was interested in and the thing which united these photos was the zero gravity condition, when you are far from the earth and existence spiritually and physically, when the earth around you transforms and you are cut off from reality.

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M.L. – Your exhibition Satellites at Night was an experiment at Moving Gallery. It is quite a big risk for many people to show well-known photos with a new form. How did you decide it? Tell me about the exhibition.

D.M. – Generally, very little happens in art sphere in Georgia. Moving Gallery by Project ArtBeat is one of the galleries trying to create the space for artists what is so necessary for their creative growth and development. That is why when I got an offer to make an exhibition I was interested in space for the first time and it seemed to me quite interesting. Perhaps living in Berlin helped me. When you make an exhibition your artworks are not only simple works. You have to think not only from the point what works you have but also what and where you exhibit them. As the space gave us the possibility of experimenting I decided to give an experimental form and exhibit my works as light boxes. Project ArtBeat suggested this idea and I accepted it with pleasure. As a result the exhibition came out quite well formed and not experimental. It took the form of contemporary art. Though, it can be said that it was an experiment and novelty for Tbilisi and Georgia in general.


M.L. – For the last 3 years, you have worked even on a bigger experiment – shooting a film. What do you feel when you touch a new media?

D.M. – In fact, apart from technical differences I haven’t felt big and extreme difference between photo and video shooting processes, as from the very beginning my photo sessions are very close to film directing.  When you are holding a video camera instead of photo camera, you are in a process of permanent search for a frame and its development, culmination and completion. This differs from a photo a lot. While taking a photo you have to tell a story in one moment and frame, whereas in case of video it should be developed during certain time (in case of video). Very often when I reached the goal and felt that I had the frame which I wanted, the frame which already conveyed something, I automatically switched off the camera and did not finish it. The second big difference is a final product. In one case you have a photo frame and in the other a film. Although the film is finished, for me the film is still going through the stages of its development, it is not formed yet. Perhaps, it needs time to acknowledge the real difference. After certain time I will be able to say whether both media are mine.

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M.L. – Tell me about the film. Whose idea was it? What processes did you undergo? How is the working on the same frames in different media- a film and photo?

D.M. – The idea of shooting and film was Salome Machaidze’s. She wrote a screen which was inspired by my previous years’ works and in fact the project was based on it. After Tamuna Karumidze joined us there were three of us in the process of shooting. The movie is a good example of three film directors’ collaborative work. I always mention that working with two more people is less problematic then working with only one person because the opinion of two people is really better. This is a typical example of team working.

M.L. – Working on a film needs lots of energy. Do you have a new photo project together with this one? What are you working on at the moment?

D.M. – I permanently work on a photo project and I did so while shooting a film. I carried out several personal and commercial photo projects during post production period. Right now, I am entirely switched to a film. The world premiere of the film is expected in a week and I am totally involved in these processes. At the same time the themes connected with my film and photos are being transformed and at some point I will probably create my new work as photos. Though I don’t exclude that further big project would be a film.

WHEN THE EARTH SEEMS TO BE LIGHT won IDFA competition for Best First Appearance in November, 2015.

Mariam Loria

January, 2016

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