Georges Dobrev is a Paris-based amateur photographer born and raised in post-soviet Georgia and currently doing his masters degree in ‘Cinéma et Audiovisuel’ at Sorbonne University.
“I try taking photos without thinking of a particular concept or a subjective viewpoint that will prevent the spectator from naturally perceiving the photos. However, I always try to find a story to tell, to communicate an idea or a message which will help every observer create his own concept. ”
How did you start photographing?
I’ve started taking photos early on, but I never really took it as my profession. Most of the time, I do not even follow the essential rules. A single overarching principle of photography is to tell stories and it is the medium best suited for me to express how I see the world.
At the very beginning I took myriads of pictures of my cousin – the most recurrent character of my photography and an inexorable source of my creative inspiration. We have a great deal in common and she’s often the one who provokes me to push the limits a little further.
Why do you choose to shoot on film?
There is a distinctive quality or texture in film that is completely absent in digital photography. By no means am I minimizing the importance of digital photography – in the end, it’s up to a photographer to decide what to use. Film is more articulate and expressive for me right now and it causes the finer details to be more distinguished.
Do you photograph your friends or strangers? How do you pick models?
Every time I observe people, I begin imagining and them in different settings and situations. In case I decide to make a photograph of them, they become a part of some story, at least that’s how I see it. This is why I view the majority of my photos as movie stills – every single one of them can be seen as a frame extracted from a particular story.
Usually, these people are my friends and acquaintances, but there are times when I stop strangers in the street, or even capture them without their consent ( It seems to me that every photographer has a history of such trivial “crimes”).
How do your surroundings influence you? Where do you get inspiration from?
We are very strongly influenced by the surroundings and the people who live in it. This is especially true for the artists who let all senses be intensified, hence their intuitive insight and keen perception of the world. I constantly try to find inspiration in all that surrounds me. However, interacting with other people impacts me the most and I’m very stimulated by the discoveries that I make in these communications.
Your are studying cinema now. What would you like to make a movie about?
It was my lingering conviction that studying film history and theory was what I always were more interested in. I was grown in the post-Soviet Georgia – in an environment where the appreciation and love of film practically dwindled over the years. However, in the past cinematography has long held an honorable place in our culture. By the time I was born, Georgia was undergoing a transition from Communism to democracy which had a lasting impact on social, economic and historic development of the country, but most severely it affected the culture. More than 20 years have passed and art, and culture in general, still assumes an inferior position in the hierarchy of priorities. There are many historical instances where only art can provide answers to even the most difficult and unresolved questions. I strongly believe that cinema is one of the most powerful mediums to reflect not only the socio-political problems, but the inner ambiguities of human beings. And if I had a chance to make a movie, I would certainly start looking for ideas in the immediate surroundings.
What is your dream project?
There’s a 80s British song whose lyrics go somewhat like this:
“Dreams are my reality, the only kind of real fantasy…”