1 Who is Natela Grigalashvili?
I’m a documentary photographer from Tbilisi, Georgia, working on long term projects focusing on the lives of people in the rural communities of Georgia.
2 Tbilisi! You are so wonderful!?
I’ve been living in Tbilisi independently since I was 16. I was born and raised in a mountain village and I moved here to study cinematography after finishing school. Many people fall in love with Tbilisi after visiting it, but I have to be honest – despite the fact that I’ve been living here for few decades it’s still hard for me to get used to so much noise and so many people. That’s why every time I have the chance I try to leave and be outside of the city as long as I can – to go and work on my projects in the mountains or just to go back to my village and work in my garden. I guess urban spaces
are not for me.
3 Home wasn’t built in a day? (Lucy Spraggan)
And even if you spend years building it, it still might not be fully yours. As mentioned above, I’ve spent most of my life in the city – Tbilisi, settling down, working, building connections, but I still feel that my home is my home village where I was born and raised.
4 How do you interact with the people you photograph?
I try to spend as much time as possible with the people I’m photographing. For me, it is very important to interact with them, to get to know them – what makes them happy, what makes them sad… I don’t start photographing immediately when I come to a new place. I communicate with them to get to know them and to make sure they are fine being photographed.
5 You read a picture not for what’s really going on there, you read it more for what is going on in our world generally (Andreas Gursky)
I think photography allows us to see worlds we didn’t know existed, to see and feel lives and events which are too far away from us and, at first glance, seem so different from ours. Photography has the ability to broaden our horizons intellectually and emotionally.
6 All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy? (Proverb)
Not if you enjoy your work so much that it becomes not so much work but a process from which you get great pleasure. Right now, I’m lucky enough to have this.
7 Party outfit or workwear?
Workwear. I rarely go out, especially in the city and if I attend parties, it’s mostly weddings and celebrations I photograph for my projects. This means I’m somewhere in the mountains where I don’t wear any party outfits. Just comfortable workwear.
8 Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants!? (Karl Lagerfeld)
Maybe in some cases this is correct but for me sweatpants are a great option to just feel comfortable when I’m back home in Tbilisi for a few days before I go back to the mountains. So, it depends on the person and on the situation, I
9 Sometimes we need the fog to remind ourselves that all of life is not black and white? (Jonathan Lockwood Huie)
Foggy weather is my favorite that’s why I often photograph when it’s foggy outside. It has amystical, somewhat eerie sense to it that changes the surrounding world, shapes, colors etc. No matter what’s going on in my life I always find myself relaxed when I’m in the fog.
10 Once wealth and beauty are gone, there is always rural life? (Mason Cooley)
Rural life with all its difficulties and happiness exists in our world and it has its own wealth and beauty for those who discover it and find happiness in it.
11 What is life in “The Doukhobors’ Land“ is going to look like in the year 3000?
Right now, the Doukhobor community is very small and struggling. They live in a remote area and because of the lack of infrastructure, no jobs and the lack of other opportunities it is decreasing very fast. But the Doukhobors believe that after their many struggles their community will once again become strong and will flourish in their holy land which they consider to be Javakheti, Georgia. Hopefully, by that time their belief will become true.
12 Sometimes science advances faster than it should?
Science has great importance for the development of humankind. Even photography itself is the result of scientific processes, but sometimes you find yourself agreeing with Isaac Asimov who said “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
13 Any surplus is immoral?
The word immoral sounds very loud, but yes, finding a balance and a perfect middle is something I aspire.
14 What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever witnessed?
I witness amazing things all the time. For me it’s the kindness and empathy I see people have towards each other and towards me. I don’t think something has to be rare to be most amazing.
15 It’s better to be naive than jaded?As mentioned above, I prefer the perfect middle in everything, but if I necessarily have to choose, I prefer naivety.
16 Wishing things away is not effective?
As long as it stays only as a wish it is not. I think moving forward is always important. Sometimes it is very difficult but necessary.
17 Your goal in life? To direct documentary films?
My main goal is peace of mind. I’d be happy to direct a documentary film, too, one day, but this prospect is not important. Right now, photography and gardening are something that gives me great joy and peace.