George Nebieridze is a photographer with a psychoanalytical insight, his work explores the interior complex, through the outside surface. He tells us he is totally preoccupied by the concept of experiences, and how they can shape a person’s life. Nebieridze grew up in Georgia, and his childhood was marked by the three wars it felt. As a result, bleating is not a word that exists in Nebieridze’s vocabulary, but survival and existence through experience do.
At 15-years-old, he picked up a camera for the first time. Now, 27-years-old Nebieridze documents Berlin’s youth and subcultures, with a focus on fashion, music and clubs. Admittedly, he has no defined plan, instead, an innovative vision for his work, career and the future of his two daughters who he is raising without gender. History and sociology studies permeate everything Nebieridze lays his hand to, and we explore all of this and more in conversation with him.
You moved to Berlin four years ago, what has happened since then?
I grew up and learnt a lot. I’m a different person in that sense, in a positive sense. However, I have also realised there are many things about growing up that totally suck. When I learnt what it was like to grow up and be stressed, really stressed, I felt though: “Oh my god, I have depression.” I would just spend days at home, watching movies, but this is not depression. People with depression have a completely different approach and completely different friendships, for instance. How do you talk to them? How do you do that? What if something like that happens to my partner, my daughters? You can’t just buy them ice cream. I’ve learnt a lot about mental health, however I am observing this rather than experiencing.
Observation is key to your work. What have you observed most recently in Berlin?
I’m also observing myself, especially when I’m not close to my family and friends in Georgia who have known me for all of my life! When you move here, you can manipulate your image a lot, people in Berlin change so fast. One minute they are wearing jeans and a T-shirt, the next a harness and going to crazy parties, doing crazy drugs. I’m also intrigued by this concept of what is crazy in Berlin – people are encouraged to push and discover themselves here.
Has this lifestyle affected anyone you know directly?
A good friend of mine recently moved back to Argentina, not because he was fucked, (he was partying a lot though), but just because he was two years older than when he moved here, and he wanted to move on. Berlin is like that. I found it hard, I was struggling with it. I was becoming friends with different people; getting really close, then they’d just leave – it made me realise that I didn’t have “proper” friends. During one period, all of my friends left and I asked myself “what will I do now?” This is the thing, people always come and go here. For some people, it’s just a question of how long they’re actually going to last. Some people get really lost. Of course, drugs play a huge role, the lifestyle, the parties. I also know people who have been doing this for twenty years and they’re OK, they stay in Berlin, but it’s not really typical.
Describe your hometown of Georgia, I guess it was slightly different to life in Berlin?
I just didn’t belong there. Of course, I belonged there because my friends and family are there, but I came here to establish myself. Back in Georgia, I have been beaten up on the streets, because I was wearing tight jeans and a leather jacket. My nose got broken three times. I was shot when I was 14-years-old, these crazy things were happening. My friends from the neighbourhood were actually killing each other. I’ve witnessed a guy cutting another guy’s ear off and another guy shooting the same guy. These things don’t happen to me in Berlin. There have been three wars in Georgia since I was born, with guns and bombs. People didn’t have electricity. My childhood was hard in many ways, even though I’ve never been traumatised by my family. I grew up as part of an always loving artistic family. I don’t honestly find Neukölln the best place for my daughters to hang out, but Berlin is way better than Georgia.
Is Berlin the last city you’re going to call home?
Berlin has a lot of immaturities. It’s very entertaining, but almost childishly so. I could see myself in Rotterdam when I’m 40-years-old, it’s a bit more mature and there’s a better financial climate. I’m defnitely not going to move to Sweden where the mother of my children comes from, they have some really deep, dark issues going on there…
Header Image EMMA NOLANDER
Photography GEORGE NEBIERIDZE taken from his book “’16”