these provocative photos capture the spirit of berlin's youth
Photographer George Nebieridze shares the stories behind the images in his new book ''17.'
Photos: George Nebieridze
This article originally appeared on i-D DE.
Pleasantly complicated. That is how the Georgia born photographer George Nebieridz describes his latest book ‘17. It's not exactly what you would expect from a visual end-of-year review, with a placenta on the cover, photos of his children on one page, and memories of ecstatic club nights on the other. But, with over 100 pages full of hidden references, it's a collection of small puzzle pieces that only make sense in the right context.
2017 was a year of big changes for the young father. There was the birth of his second daughter Ofelia, his decision to start working closer to the music industry, and unforgettable nights of partying. “I learned that as an artist you have to be the most daring and never compromise,” says Nebieridze. “It always should be all or nothing.”
Though the almost 300 photos seem to match, the Georgian always tries to find new ways to approach his work. A lot of his photos are bursting with melancholy, others arouse by just looking at the intimate moments you suddenly become part of. “This book could put me in jail or in big trouble,” confesses Nebieridze via email, “it is very daring and provocative, so it’s definitely not for everyone.” In the end, he intentionally leaves room for interpretation and only reveals the titles of his work. i-D was still curious and wanted to know the stories that lie behind the surface. Here's what he had to say.
"Ringo for Hero" and "Smoke"
“I helped out a young musician to promote his music by taking his photos on my rooftop. It was styled by the incredible Erik Raynal, who chose this magnificent Dior outfit for Ringo. The background photo is taken at a very memorable ambient gig by Sarah Devachi, it was a very dreamy experience and I hope I captured the essence of the moment. The two photos come into an entirely visual relationship where the daytime sky somehow becomes the smoke in a dark space.”
"Red Light Hand' und 'Puma Tobias"
“Probably a bit cheesy way of laying the photos out but since when is it bad or wrong? Tobias is a person who can always cheer me up with his presence, you should definitely hear how he laughs. The background photo is a result of me experimenting with some neon and LED street lights coming out of a Spielothek casino in Kreuzberg.”
"Ofelia and Wilhelmina"
“This is the very first photo of the sisters together. It’s easy to spot fascination on Ofelia’s face who was just about ten or fifteen days old, because it was her very first time watching cartoons with her older sister.”
"Light" und "Yonatan"
“The photograph on the left is a still life of two empty plastic cups on a light blue table. They represent the memory which me and my partner at that time shared after an unforgettable lunch on the lake Geneva. Visually it shows some very light tones, it almost gives the sense of flying or weightlessness. The connection this photo has to its neighbor is the character. Yonatan is sitting on the backstage sofa on one of the last classic Herrensauna parties. I see him as a person with a very innocent, young and pure heart, which brings us to the feeling of weightlessness and even flying.”
“This photo represents Berlin as its best in one very particular aspect: Spätis! The inseparable part of this city, they often bring intense memories even. It is from one of those drunken nights when you lose the feeling of time and things get a bit cheeky. I am also visually attracted to the symmetry and geometry in the shot. And it has to be said that beer has a very special place in my heart. Hah.”
"Me and Nika"
"It’s the last photo in the book (apart from the back cover). As I finished my previous book with a photo of me wearing a nun outfit I decided to keep the tradition going. It is taken at the very end of the year, I think it was a Christmas party at Vice. Next to me is Nika, my dear friend, one of my favorite artists and a huge inspiration for over 10 years, who is kissing me on my neck. I love the color tones on this photo, I call it ‘cold yellow’. Also reminds me that I should paint my eyelashes more often."
"Blurry Thiago" and "Late Night Construction Work"
"Thiago Dias is probably the nicest person I know and definitely one of the most beautiful — he has been my muse for a long time. I love to leave bars with my drink in my hands, apparently so does he. The slight motion blur gives the photo the feeling of movement and dynamics. "Late Night Construction Work" is a result of a deliberate motion blur, I tried to make the red lights appear slightly bigger and more visible. Low exposure on this photo also gave me the ability to have that blue tone of the night sky on the background."
"This one is the front cover of the book for several reasons: on the one hand to embrace and encourage femininity and raise awareness on female body amongst young people. Most men don’t know what a placenta is, hopefully they’ll get curious after seeing this photo and find out more. On the other hand it is a very personal photograph as it was taken during the birth of my second daughter Ada Ofelia. It also intrigues the viewers that they’ll experience something unusual, peculiar and fascinating after opening the book."