Street Photography in Tbilisi: The best places to hit the streets
Peace Bridge is one of the first modern structures of Tbilisi. Only for pedestrians, the bridge crafted in glass and steel connects Ereile II Street and Rich Park, running right over Mtkvari River. Walk the 150 m of the bridge, enjoy the illumination of several thousand LED lights – the perfect time is just about one hour before sunset. Be prepared for a crowd of people coming here for the same reason as you: Peace Bridge is the no. 1 spot for Street Photography in Tbilisi.
Abanotubani, a Health Spa
Of course you should not take a bath here. Abanotubani is the sulfur bath district in the old town and quite a magnet for tourists from all over the world. Whereas the natural spring water is said to be good for skin and health, the dome-shaped roofs of the area with the arched and vaulted intersections made of reddish stones are good for picture-taking. Enjoy the lively atmosphere of the place, combined with the dignified flair of real old architecture.
This spot is unique – for some people into Street Photography this is the sole reason to visit Tbilisi. Say, this is representative for the whole Old Town of Tbilisi. Do not stop with the baths, take it all. You will find many authentic places which are not made up for the tourists.
Orbeliani Bath House
The contrast could not be stronger: after delving into the archaic structures of old Abanotubani, the Orbeliani Bath House with its‘ fine tiles all around the outer walls comes almost like a shock. Tchreli Amano, the colorful baths, are one of the most beautiful spots in the city.
Whereas the surrounding buildings were crafted in the 17th century and show traces of Iranian architecture, this one bathhouse was refurbished only in the 19th century. Asian style alright – and a wonderful spot for Street Photography when people move in and out and form a corresponding mosaic of clothes, heads and bags in front of the bath house. This is Tbilisi in its‘ overwhelming international beauty.
Narikala Fortress: Botanical Garden and Church
There are several chances to get a nice view on Narikala Fortress, the only citadel of the city remaining nowadays. You can either walk up the steep hill and get a close-up, or you take the tram from Rike Park. On the tram, you will not only have wonderful views of Mtkvari River, the Rike Park and the Old Town, but also encounter the breath-taking contrast of modern and ancient, of people from all over the world, of movement and stillness. The brick castle from the 4th century with its solid structures and self-contained appearance is the best background to show in a Street Photography manner all the divergent facets of Tbilisi.
The Kaleidoscope House
One of the residential houses of the 19th century and Kaleidoscope House is located n Betlemi Street. Tourists love this spot, locals admire the impressive stained glass decor. When sunshine refracts in the colorful glass and enhances the manifold folks in the staircase or on the street in front of the house, the world erupts in light and color. This is quite a challenge for Street Photographers.
Fabrika is a hostel. The forme rSoviet sewing factory serves nowadays as a popular gathering place for locals as well as visitors. The facade looks almost tattooed, being clad in graffiti in a somewhat punk-ish manner. Huge glass windows mirror the surrounding buildings from earlier centuries, melting epochs, cultures and even the people on the street into one impressive work of arts. Tbilisi Street Photography without the Fabrika Hostel? No way!
The central avenue of Tbilisi shows a mix of modern architecture and architecture of the 20th century. There are government buildings and cultural buildings, many cafes, shops and restaurants. You will find establishments for entertainments. And you will find people. In fact, Rustaveli Avenue is packed with people. So: here you are with the literally human side of Street Photography in Tbilisi.
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The best photo galleries for Street Photographers
In fact, it is not easy to gather information about photo galleries in Tbilisi online. Especially if it is about photo galleries which are interesting for Street photographers. So, homework done: here are the five most important art galleries in Tbilisi which you should not miss if you call yourself a serious Street Photographer!
The photography scene of Tbilisi is quite vibrant, and with Fotografia Gallery you are at the epicenter. The gallery opened only in 2017, nowadays it hosts some well-known local as well as international photographers. The friendly staff of the gallery is knowledgeable about the photography culture of Georgia, so do not hesitate to speak with the people! Most of them are photographers themselves and work on interesting projects. Furthermore: at Fotografia you can buy older film cameras and the respective films, brands like Kodak ind Ilford are still available here. The lab at the gallery can develop your film and originals.
This gallery is still very new und focusses on contemporary arts. Artists from different genres come together and find their own innovative ways. The exhibition changes so often that you should have a look at their facebook page before you visit the gallery.
This is a pretty unique art space: located in mobile containers, Project Artbeat has a permanent location in Tbilisi’s Old Town. The gallery focuses on regional artists and is well-curated.
The name is telling: patara is the Georgian adjective „small“. It is literally Tbilisi’s smallest gallery. And it is the most creative one. You find it in a pedestrian underpass just beneath Rose Revolution Square. Easy to miss, but so sad if you missed to visit it!
This gallery is located in a former Soviet power station right in the center of Tbilisi. The space is really beautiful, and became one of the most important spaces available vor artists in Tbilisi. Check whether they are open before you visit – sometimes they do not exhibit at all.
Street Photography Workshops and courses in Tbilisi
Here we encounter the same problem as before: there are certainly many workshops and courses, Street Photographers and guides in Tbilisi. Just how to find them? Search engines are only helpful so far as there is a webpage, and that is not always the case. If you are in Tbilisi, and if you are knee-deep into Street Photography, do not hesitate to visit the above mentioned art galleries. People there, visitors as well as staff and artists, can help you. You might find quite a lot of interesting offers and chances which are simply not visible online.
Remember that artists are sometimes old-fashioned. You would rather spend your time in the streets, taking pictures instead of setting up a webpage which Google likes and other search engines at least can deal with … Right. Other Street Photographers are just the same. They might not want to bother with „that modern SEO stuff“. Sorry for that. The few courses and workshops we found we proudly present!
Maciej Dakowicz, Tbilisi-based Street Photographer
Street Photographer himself, Maciej Dakowicz takes care to maintain his webpage in the best manner. There are workshops in Tbilisi on a regular base. They usually last one week, only five participants are accepted. Maciej is teaching these workshops since 2010.
Mano Svanidze, local photographer who dips into Street Photography
The Georgian photographer is actually based in Tbilisi where she graduated from Tbilisi State University with a BA in Marketing. Since roundabout 10 years Mano is much into photography, is a co-founder and member of Georgian Photo Collective 90’x Collective. You might catch her in one of the galleries, you might catch her busy with one of her projects somewhere in the city. And maybe there is a workshop. She does not offer Street Photography courses on a regular base, but she might have one or the other advice for you.
Natan Dvir in Tbilisi
Natan Dvir originates in Israel and focusses on the human aspects of all issues in politics, social affairs and culture. Holding an MBA from Tel Aviv University and an MFA in Photography form the School of Visual Arts (New York), he is also offering courses and workshops in Street Photography in Tbilisi. This is the information of the years 2019 and 2020 – Natan Dvir is not based there! So the schedule might change, there might be more courses in following years or whatever. One course means one day with the specialist in Tbilisi. For Georgian nationals the courses are free of charge.
… and more courses for Street Photography in Tbilisi
The university of Georgia offers courses in Street Photography on a regular base. Please check itonline. You might find more chances for workshops and courses at the Tbilisi Photo Festival. Programm, locations and more you find at tbilisiphotofestival.com/en. If you still did not get enough, we recommend the Tbilisi Photo Tour to you. You can take guided tours throughout the city and the surrounding area together with local professional photographers. They might not all specialize in Street Photography. But it will broaden your view of Tbilisi and leave you with spectacular pictures and a time to remember. Further information you will find online.