Ostblick: Levan Maisuradze

"Photography is about the journey, not the destination."

Frau auf Schimm See Berge fotografiert von Levan Maisuradze

Der Ostblock war der jahrelange Gegenspieler zur westlichen Welt, auf der anderen Seite des eisernen Vorhangs. Durch die Linse unserer Ostfotografen werfen wir einen Blick auf ihre Heimatorte, alte Jugendzimmer und neue Idole, alles östlich der deutsch-polnischen Grenze – ein Ostblick.

Die Orte, die nicht perfekt sind, sind die Orte mit der Freiheit sich zu entwickeln. Tiflis ist so ein Ort – einer, dessen blühende Kreativszene in den vergangenen Jahren auch außerhalb von Georgien mehr und mehr Anerkennung fand. Levan Maisuradze lebt und fotografiert dort. Seine Bilder sind Momentaufnahmen genau dieser Entwicklung, von Jugendkultur und kreativer Freiheit. Ein Blick durch seine Linse: sein Blick auf den Osten.

Levan Maisuradze lebt und fotografiert in Georgiens Hauptstadt Tiflis.

Achtung Digital: Since the first issue of Achtung, we have looked to the east. We feel that should be done more often. What can the West learn from the East?

Levan Maisuradze: At the moment, mostly talking about Georgia, everything is developing. You can feel the freedom of experimenting around you. There is no structure, no rules or a right way to do something and all of this gives you a lot of freedom. In the West, everything looks natural, so perfect. And here, somehow, everything is spontaneous. Now our culture seems to be born again. We do everything intuitively. And this spirit probably expands the boundaries of creativity.

AD: Europe is actually politically and economically united. Nevertheless, a cultural divide between East and West is often noticeable. What is the biggest difference you notice when you travel from Eastern to Western Europe?

LM: Western Europe is about comfort. Here, in the East, we have chaos everywhere: in the architecture, the traffic, at work, in our lifestyle and in our conversations…

AD: What opportunities does your home country offer you in photography?

LM: I like how my home country looks. Our architecture seems very exotic and it has a special beauty and power in all of this chaos. I also like that it’s easy to organize shootings at abandoned places like the airport. Additionally, the light is amazing – we have really beautiful light here all year long.

AD: Is photography political?

LM: Well, I can only talk for myself. I think that it is all about creativity. But if a photo has one meaning today, it doesn’t mean that it is going to have the same meaning tomorrow. Anyway, I don’t see anything in my work in any political way at all.

AD: If you had not become a photographer, what would you be now?

LM: I think I would be a film director.

Skateboard Guy Teen Tiflis Georgia Streetstyle

„Color says important things.“

Skateboard Teen Tiflis Georgia

„I still need to improvise.“

AD: Black and white or color?

LM: I love black and white photos so much. But actually I think that colors say important things too… so therefore I would choose color.

AD: Which photographer from your home country inspires you the most?

LM: Louisa Chalatashvili, Davit Giorgadze, George Nebieridze and David Meskhi inspire me.

AD: Your favorite place to be in your hometown?

LM: The Drama bar. It combines everything: good music, an amazing atmosphere, beautiful interior and very interesting people.

AD: The late effects of communism are often summarized like this: There was nothing, everything had to be improvised. Is this a matter of course and therefore perhaps not such a high priority for you, or did this lack and its consequences actually shape your work?

LM: I don’t know… I didn’t live in the time of communism. But we still don’t have good quality stuff here, for example a good scanner. I still need to improvise in terms of that.

AD: If your city would be a piece of clothing, what would it be?

LM: It would be any favorite piece of clothing that you have grown out of but that you keep forever anyways.

Architektur Statue Gebäude Model

„I like how my home country looks.“

Frau mit Blumen in Georgien Tiflis Foto von Levan Maisuradze

„We have really beautiful light here all year long.“

AD: During the Soviet Union, pictures had to be smuggled from East to West through “the iron curtain”. Even though this curtain has long since fallen, how difficult is it for young creatives to cross these borders and to get international attention?

LM: Due to the Internet it has become easy now. Especially if you do something really unique and interesting – then you and your art will be noticed.

AD: What do you want to move as a photographer abroad and in your homeland?

LM: I do what I like and I don’t think about moving anything right now. For me, photography is all about the journey and not the destination. I enjoy being in a process of constant search.

AD: Is there any other city/country that you aspire to live in sometime?

LM: New York.

AD: What is the first image that comes to your mind when you think of your country?

LM: I think of the coolest party of your life. A party where you know everyone and everyone knows you. And a place where we are all friends and are having a really nice time together.