Georgian Stranger, photo essay by Kirk G Ellingham
‘Georgian Stranger’ examines a foreign visitors reaction and interpretation to this land of turmoil and beauty as his own life comes to a crossroad of doubt and choice. Arriving in the land of the gun and Chacha, of fantastic tomatoes and high peaks, mad taxi drivers, blind but powerful faith and colourful transit cafes. In Georgia, with its passing & enigmatic travellers, starving roadside dogs and crumbling house’s of fallen beauty, the Georgian stranger arrives and travels in the land of his dreams with his estranged lover, ever the shadow by his side, the thorn and the kiss.
The notebook I took and made during my first journey in Georgia and the Caucasus region is also presented here. Told through a series of re-imagined semi autobiographical and documentary stories. Contextualising images with poetry, script, history, found objects and interviews it is challenging way to create a modern day story that can also reflect and transpose a poetic sense of unknown places and journeys to a possible audience. The book at the same time makes a concerted effort to challenge modern preconceptions and clichés of places and people that sometimes a more formulaic approach to travel journals can often confer to lazy viewers. Raw and honest, overlaid with text and poems and old beer labels and found prayers I hope it conveys beauty, curiosity, sadness and little some little smiles as we remember our first travels in strange lands; once of the heart and ones of the land.
Georgian stranger is also small homage to the first modern travellers in Georgia and also to the ‘stranger’ poets, such as Pushkin & Lermontov who travelled and found inspiration here in the past.
But at its heart, simply it is a story about trying to retain or regain lost love, the love of the imagined as well as the physical love of the lover through a’ The Journey’.
(by Kirk G Ellingham ©)