Visual Storytelling

Justyna Mielnikiewicz

22 July - 28 July






 Visual Storytelling                                                                                                                                  


 Saturday July 22nd to Thursday, July 28th 2017

Guy Bourdin Avant-Garde from Tbilisi Photo Festival on Vimeo.


For its 8th edition, Tbilisi Photo Festival partners with AtlasGlobal to hold its Original Masterclass workshop in the remote village of Shenako, 2000 meters high in the Greater Caucasus mountain range. This awe-inspiring hamlet of shepherds and horsemen was chosen for its breathtaking landscape and its photographic legacy in the name of Shalva Alkhanaidze, whose brilliant mid-20th century images of Tushetian life reveal a world of raw passion and somber frankness.


The Masterclass aims both to help photographers develop a personal photographic language and to discover Georgia by exploring one of its most enchanting regions.


This year, Tbilisi Photo Festival has invited Justyna Mielnikiewicz, an internationally-acclaimed photographer to conduct the Masterclass workshop. Her keen ability to communicate the profound knowledge of photography with others is a result of a series of workshops she mentored. Justyna Mielnikiewicz is intimately familiar with Georgia where she settled in 2002 and has been photographing Caucasus region for more than 15 years.  


Justyna Mielnikiewicz is an award winning photographer from Poland who has been based in Georgia since 2002. In 2016 Justyna was awarded the prestigious W.E. Smith Memorial Fund, which is funding her work on the role of ethnicity in identity formation for Russians residing in the former USSR, 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union.  A professional photographer since 1999 when she reported for the daily newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, Justyna has been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Le Monde, Stern, Newsweek International, Marie Claire, GEO France, Monocle and the German Yearbook of Reporters Without Borders - among others. Most of her professional activities, however, are devoted to personal long-term projects. In 2014 she published her first book, “Woman with a Monkey - Caucasus in Short Notes and Photographs.” The book documents more than a decade of life in the South Caucasus. Justyna is presently wrapping up a project titled, “A Ukraine Runs Through it,” an exploration of modern Ukraine. She is a recipient of the 2009 Canon Female Photojournalist prize, World Press Photo prize, the Caucasus Young Photographer Award (2011) and in 2015 she was a recipient of the Aftermath Project Grant.  



Justyna will help you find your own unique voice in photography by helping you develop your storytelling and editing skills. She will assist each photographer to identify the best subject to work on during the five days and guide them through possible styles and approaches while creating their own photographic project. Focus will be on each step of the project making process; from planning to reviewing the daily output and then editing it. Lastly, she will show the class how to create a simple multimedia presentation which will allow them to wrap up their photographs and experiences into a professional media project – ready to share with their audience.

Justyna is familiar with Tusheti and admires how the region has preserved its wild spirit. It is an ideal location for any photographer inspired by the act of discovery and for Justyna that also means an opportunity to personally help each participant to identify their own distinctive voice and fine tune it with a series of theoretical and practical activities.



The Tbilisi Photo Festival was launched in 2010, in partnership with Les Rencontres d’Arles. It is the first annual international photography festival in the Caucasus and has proven to be not only the most respected festival of photography in the region but one of the most highly esteemed cultural events in the Caucasus.


The festival is significant for being a central meeting point for photography from the west, along with Asia, Iran, Turkey, Russia and the Arab world. Each year, the Tbilisi Photo Festival attracts internationally renowned photographers, curators, photo editors and leaders of other major photo festivals to the Georgian capital, along with thousands of photography fans. Tbilisi is fast becoming a hub for new ideas in photography.


Artistic Director Nestan Nijaradze  co founded the festival  with Lioenl Charrier – French photographer and currently Photo Editor at Liberation in 2010. Trained in Paris, Nestan has curated many major international exhibitions and reviews portfolios in prestigious festivals around the world.


She has tapped into Tbilisi’s long-standing distinction of being an east-west crossroads by inviting both internationally famous photographers and those who are virtually unknown in the western world, yet are equally committed to photography and produce world-class images.


– 30% ON AIR TICKETS for Masterclass participants


 TBILISI PHOTO FESTIVAL Masterclasses takes pride in ensuring that participants are completely taken care of from the moment of their arrival until the time of departure. This year, Tbilisi Photo Festival has partnered with AtlasGlobal Airlines, who will provide all participants a 30 percent discount on flights from every European city to Tbilisi.


To benefit from this offer participants must email to: 

with “Tbilisi Photo Festival workshop/Tusheti ” in the subject heading.

(office tel: + 995 599 32 2  25 03 30 ) from 10 am to 7 pm Tbilisi time.


The philosophy of these Masterclasses is to combine a friendly atmosphere in a country where people are famous for their hospitality with hard-working sessions to give shape to one's inner eye. Developing photographic language requires being engaged on the ground and understanding how crucial editing is to creating a coherent series. 


Participants will be driven up to an elevation of 2000 meters along a breathtaking road through the Tusheti National Park to Shenako, where they will be lodged at a family-run guest house. Days will be spent exploring ancient villages made of slate, stone and wood with respect to local customs and traditions (a mix of Christian and pre-Christian paganism). In these protected areas settlements cling impossibly to the sides of mountains while the people are true mountaineers who have been forging their lives in tune with the rugged natural environment for generations. Participants will be flown out of Shenako by helicopter, weather permitting.




 Anyone who has a passion for the still image: professional and amateur photographers, artists and students of photography and art.


We believe that every individual has the capacity to build their own visual language when passion for the imageco-exist with the proper guidance.





Each participant will prepare a slideshow from the final selection of their work, with the assistance of their instructors. These slideshows will be publicly projected on the last evening of the Masterclass on a wide screen. For Shenako’s residents, it will be the first ever public photography screening in the village and a unique opportunity to see firsthand their guest’s perceptions of their remarkable world.





  • A portfolio of your work. Images should be in print form, small size
  • Your digital camera, one lens only & its accessories (extra batteries, memory cards, cable for image transfer to a computer, USB key, external hard disk, etc).
  • A notebook or recording device to facilitate note-taking during the Masterclass.
  • Your personal computer, if possible.
  • Clothing suitable for the mountains, including appropriate footwear. Remember, night time can get quite chilly.





English, Russian, Georgian




Contact Elina Valaité,  Masterclass coordinator  (she speaks English, Russian and Georgian).






In Tbilisi, participants will stay at a modern, comfortable and secure hostel conveniently located in the center of the city.  Fabrika is an old Soviet sewing factory that has been repurposed into a fabulously modern hostel and cool urban space in an old Tbilisi neighborhood.


 In Shenako, participants will stay at a rustic family-run guesthouse.




The coast of the 6 days of masterclass is 950 euros


The accomodation ready package price is 600 euros  including:

  •  Transfers from and to Airport in Tbilisi
  •  Accommodation in Tbilisi and Shenko
  •  Trips by car during the masterclass in Shenako
  •  3 meals per day during the stay in Georgia
  •  Travel from Tbilisi to Shenko by car and from Shenako to Tbilisi by helicopter


The number of participants is limited to 8.


The participants that will register before May 15th , will get the special 10% discount on the price of the masterclass.

For more informationa and schedule of activties contact: 

 Elina Valaité,  Masterclass coordinator  (she speaks English, Russian and Georgian).