Sopho Sikharulidze: “I am interested in what is not immediately visible. I wait for ‘the decisive moment'”
Sopho Sikharulidze is a talented young photographer from Georgia whose look on the things around her is fresh and the human element in the photo is indispensable. In the interview that follows, she explains why.
You are a mystery. No bio, no info, nothing to indicate something more personal than your photos. I shall ask you to relinquish this stance and tell us a few things about you and your relationship with photography.
There is honestly nothing mysterious about me. I am a regular Georgian citizen who just loves taking pictures and sharing them on instagram. I think publishing my works already is sharing something personal, but you may be right, I usually prefer to keep the low profile in life without having any specific reason for it, although, seeing your interest, I would be more than happy to share some information about myself with you.
I am 27 years old, married, with no children yet, I am studying german language and literature and I always keep my camera close to me. I don’t have any academic background in the field of photography, taking pictures was something spontaneous that took the start during my trip in Istanbul. While visiting Hagia Sofia with my husband on a sunny day I suddenly felt that something beautiful was going on around me that I did not want to fade away and felt the urge to memorise it visually, by imprinting it.
Every single photo on your profile has the human element in it. I don’t know how you do it but it’s very admirable and it almost feels like a personal crusade, to include people in all of them. Is it a project or something else entirely?
Thanks again, it is so flattering to know that this tiny detail is remarkable by the perspective of third party. However, honestly I have never looked at it as a particular project. It can be seen as the reflection of how I see the world and my perception of its existence, in other words: I cannot see a universe without a human being in it and vice versa.
The figures in your photos however, are not approached in a portrait-intended manner. They feel detached and distant. I often get the sense that we peep through a keyhole. What do you need to explore using that photographic approach?
Your point of view towards my photographs is something novel, very interesting for me and in a way – helpful. It made me browse through my photos once more and look at them from a different perspective. I would not say I am using any specific photographic approach but you are right, I do not approach people in a portrait-intended manner, I am not interested in the visible beauty of places or people,but in what is not immediately visible. I wait for ‘the decisive moment’ when the action or the light, or both of them make the right composition.
Your gallery in mainly monochromed with tidbits of colour here and there. If there’s a partiality, how do you explain it?
Once again, let me mention that it is not something planned so to think about it, probably this is my way of trying to persuade myself that the universe is not always monochromic and human beings are in need to see and feel tidbits of color here and there, which in some ways could serve as lights at the end of the tunnels.
You’ve been on this medium for a long time and although you still experiment, you seem to have established a style early on. Bnw, high contrast, shadows, children etc. You create a dreamlike universe for us. Would you say that you do have a style?
I have not established myself any specific style on purpose, but when I think about it now I agree with you about the dreamlike universe. I do not know how it is reflected in my photos but my approach is that we do not need fairytales, believing that a dreamlike universe is happening here, around us, in our everyday life we just have to make ourselves notice it.
Although your photos seem to be as spontaneous as it goes, lots of them are highly creative. Would you try to set a scene for a change?
A modern Peter Pan. Darker and windier, which is in total contrast to the fairy tale (photo above). That’s what this photo made me think. Is it ‘easier’ to photograph children? Is the material more abundant with them?
I love taking photos of children in their natural playful state, they never mind being in front of the camera, and they even ignore it quite often.
What is left for you to conquer photography-wise? What are your dreams and aspirations?
I don’t have any specific plan or a big dream about my career in photography. I look at it as something I really love and am passionate about.
The interview with Sopho Sikharulidze was given on March 13, 2017