Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 23 April 2021

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – Natti Miller’s new exhibition Life, Devotion and Death in Tbilisi. Plus Earth Day 2021. There seems to be growing momentum, political will and a more concerted effort to address climate change. Let’s hope this manifests in action and not more talk. Earth Day is important in bringing attention to a crucial issue, but everyday should be Earth Day. We can all do our part. Make a change today, every action helps.

Exhibition:

Nathan Miller: Life, Devotion and Death in Tbilisi

In 2019 Israeli photographer, Nathan “Natti” Miller, who is based in Australia, travelled to Tbilisi, Georgia to attend a workshop with Magnum Photos, but the long trek also became a homage to the birthplace of his mother’s family.

“I’d never been to Georgia. When I arrived in Tbilisi, I didn’t think much about the city, it is definitely not New York or Paris,” says Miller. “I was staying in the old city which was cluttered with beautiful architecture but visually looking decayed. But after a day or two, it actually had a charm of its own and the decayed look in a strange way (was) pretty. Tbilisi…grows on you.”

Miller arrived just before the start of the Orthodox Easter celebrations. He says that Georgia is a very religious country and the “true believers” engage in rituals that provided him with fascinating insights into his mother’s homeland. Festivities included the traditional “red-coloured eggs” as well as celebratory feasts. (Having fallen in love with Georgian food when I was in Russia a few years back, I can imagine how sumptuous these feasts were).

“The most momentous part of the celebration is the miraculous appearance of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem a day before Easter Sunday,” says Miller. That evening the “Holy Fire” arrived on a flight from Jerusalem and was driven to the Holy Trinity Church, the epicentre of the celebrations. From there the fire was “distributed to all the churches around Tbilisi, and thousands of believers distributed the fire among themselves to their homes.”

Miller’s photographs capture the deep connections that Christian Georgians have to their faith and to each other. I first came across Miller’s work in 2014 when I reviewed his book “Somewhere in Jaffa.” I observed then that it is Miller’s easy interaction with his subjects, in private homes and public spaces, that make his photographs so engaging. In the simple scenes that he captures in Tbilisi are stories rich in history, pathos and consecration, but there is also joy that is seated in a common unity. This is a beautiful and thoughtful collection of images that when combined create a fascinating visual narrative.

Life, Devotion and Death in Tbilisi

Until 9 May

Glen Eira Gallery, Cnr. Glen Eira & Hawthorn Roads Caulfield

Artist Floor Talk Friday 30 April 1pm

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