Project

Traveling around Georgia: Can You Tell the Difference Between the Country and the US State?

Photographers from Canada and Russia united their efforts to create a project about two different locations with the same name.

Kyler Zeleny Age 28

Research photographer from Canada. Lives in Toronto. Studied Political Science at the University of Alberta and Photography at Goldsmiths. Is a founding member of the Association of Urban Photographers (AUP), a guest editor for the Imaginations Journal for Cross-Cultural Image Studies and a guest publisher with The Velvet Cell.

Yanina Shevchenko

Born in Russia, lives in Barcelona. Studied at Goldsmiths, Moscow Academy of Photography, Volgograd State University of Architecture, and the International Center of Photography, New York. Since 2008, has worked in New York, Moscow, Buenos Aires, London, and Barcelona as a photographer, events producer, and curator. Winner of the PhotoVoice photography awards in London, 2015.

Kyler and I met at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2012. We were both writing our theses on traveling as a method of visual research, so we decided to do a project together.

The idea of “Georgia Georgia” came to life when we wanted to make a comparative analysis of two different territories with the same name. Initially, we wanted to work together. But since Kyler lives in North America and I live in Europe, we decided that he would photograph Georgia the state, and I would capture Georgia the country.

“The idea of “Georgia Georgia” came to life when we wanted to make a comparative analysis of two different territories with the same name.”

We made all the decisions about the time of the project, the cameras that we used, the duration of trips, the selection of photographs, and the representation of the project together.

I respect Kyler as a person, he is a photographic inspiration to me, but I can’t say that working together was easy. The most difficult part was to meet the deadlines that we set ourselves. Initially, we planned to spend not more than a year on this project, but because both of us had busy schedules, we ended up spending two. It took a lot of time to discuss everything and agree on all the details.

We wanted to show both locations just like they were, without the stereotypes. Of course, we understood that we were looking at the two countries with very different cultural and social backgrounds, and it would definitely have its impact on the results. It is one of the reasons that we present the images in pairs. We used it not only to underline the most obvious differences, but also to find the unexpected similarities.

One of goals of the project was to confuse the audience and challenge the preconceived idea about certain locations. How we look at cities and countries is based on the information available to us, and it is not always correct. This is only the perception, but not the reality. “Georgia Georgia” is how Kyler and I see the two locations.

How we look at cities and countries is based on the information available to us, and it is not always correct.
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