Caucasus: 19th Century Portrait

After the success of last year's exhibition of the photographs from the collection of the nineteenth-century photographer, Dimitry Ermakov, the Tbilisi Photo Festival is pleased to continue the process of uncovering Georgia's rich photographic heritage.  This year, the Festival has organised an exhibition of nineteenth-century Caucasus portraits.  The photographs are a journey through time and a cultural mosaic of the peoples of this diverse region.


The images range from a Georgian princess in Kutaisi to wealthy Armenian merchants in Tbilisi to a Kurd serving in the Russian army.  There are dervishes, Dukhobors (Russian "old believers"), Jews from the northern Caucasus as well as Tatar women in chadors.  It is a remarkable time capsule, made richer by the contrast between the beautiful diversity of the subjects and the static backdrop of the “portrait cabinet” in the form of a painted scene depicting the snowy peaks of the Caucasus.  These images of nineteenth-century Tbilisi are a miniature record of Georgia's ethnic and cultural diversity with their subjects attired in their best Sunday clothes, conscious of being recorded for history.