GEORGE NEBIERIDZE: "If I lived on an abandoned island, I’d still be documenting things there"
His name has become synonym for a raw depiction of Berlin's underground scene, but that vision is too narrow to encapsulate his diverse photography. In this exclusive interview, George Nebieridze talks about his new book, 16', his passion for documenting his surroundings and never fitting in to just one scene.
ALL PHOTOS BY George Nebieridze©
16' is a documentation of a year in Berlin. What makes the city so special in your eyes?
Moving here from Georgia was an incredible and almost an unbelievable experience. It’s a radically different world - but that was exactly what I was looking for. This fascinating ambiance and peculiarity, love and actual freedom all around made me call this place home, forever. I might even move to another city, but I’ll still call Berlin home.
There's a lot of sexual and specifically LGBTQ images in the book. Is this a celebration of freedom or a ‘fuck you’ to homophobes?
It’s both, and not just a celebration of freedom or a ‘Fuck you’ to homophobes. I value aesthetics as much as value meaning or the politics of the image, so it’s safe to say that [the book] it’s also a celebration of beauty as I see it. On the other hand, though, one might not be a straight homophobe, but people in charge, like in politics or media who keep neutral in these issues or maybe encourage racism or sexism, are equally to be blamed. I hope my photos will have the ability to make these people think twice. It’s never late to learn.
What brings together as a piece of work such different photos like a flower in the sunlight and a soldier with his pants down? What do all these photos have in common?
It’s a reflection of my personality - I never follow any precise rules or direction in my personal life or career. Also, I’ve never belonged to only one sub-culture or circle. I think those things damage creativity in you. I like putting pictures next to each other that have a very diverse atmosphere in them. It is some sort of an exercise of harmony. What all the photos have in common is that they are all my photos, seen from my field of view and, despite the subject matter, they have some kind of beauty and attractiveness. Things or people being different doesn’t mean they can’t be together.
Can we call this book a diary of your life?
Something like that, but maybe using smarter sounding words (laughs). Plus, it doesn’t matter where I am or what I do. If I lived on an abandoned island, I’d still be documenting things there. So, the city, for instance, has nothing to do with it.
Will there be a ‘17 book?
Yeah, we already started making ‘17, I estimate it to be out at the end of the year. There’s ’15 as well, by the way, and I plan to make this project an annual thing. I have many side projects, about architecture or the music industry, per example, but this series (Apostrophe) is going to evolve and develop through the years.