Critique

Portfolio: Dina Oganova

In today’s issue: photographer Dina Oganova and her documentary projects about Georgia

In the Portfolio section Bird in Flight shares projects by young photographers working in various genres and asks them to talk about their reasons for choosing their career, their goals, educational background and inspirations. This issue features Dina Oganova.


Dina Oganova, 27 years old

She is a freelance photographer from Georgia; in 2006 she completed a photography course with Yury Mechitov; has a George Soros Foundation Fellowship for photographers from Central Asia, South Caucuses, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Mongolia. In 2013 she participated in The Joop Swart Masterclass organized by World Press Photo. She has had a number of exhibitions of her works both in Georgia and worldwide.


When did you get involved in photography?
I know I am risking saying something very commonplace, but photography has been a big part of my life from early childhood. But I took it up in a serious way after I left school and entered a university. For whatever reason it was the Economics I had enrolled in, which was, of course, a mistake, so I was frantically looking for something I could really be interested in – and I found it in photography.

I was very lucky to meet a wonderful person, my first photography teacher, Yury Mechitov – he used to work with the film director Sergei Parajanov. It was a turning point of my life – a bored teenager found a trapdoor to escape into the world of magic. That’s where still live.


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What do you shoot?
I am a documentary photographer so I mostly do personal projects about my beloved Georgia. One of the most recent ones is called “My Place” – it is about the first generation that was born in the last years of the Soviet Union but matured in the independent Georgia.
Why do you consider photography your main thing?
I feel good, free and happy with a camera. I love people and the best way to manifest it is by taking pictures of them.
What, in your opinion, makes a good photograph?
Love and sincerity. And time. When you are just shooting, in a mechanical way, without a feeling, it always shows. To take a good picture, you have to invest your soul.


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What difficulties do you run into as a photographer?
Well, there are a lot of them, of course. For example, in Georgia they don’t consider photography as an art form or as a serious occupation, a job. They think it is just a hobby and I used to find that very upsetting. But now I’ve grown out of it – it just makes me smile when I hear it.
Who’s experience do you find interesting?
Anybody’s.
What camera do you shoot with?
Anything I can get a hold of except the phone.
Do you earn a living from photography?
Yes. It’s my only source of income.
What would you do when your not doing photography?
Filmmaking. It is the second biggest love of my life but it is so closely related to photography that I just say it’s one big love.


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What are your goals?
My goals change keep changing with time, and it’s great. At present my goal is to complete the hand-made book I am doing about the new generation of Georgian people, then I’ll see…I don’t like looking too much ahead. It’s nicer when things happen their own way, spontaneously.

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