As if in response to the isolation most of us are experiencing during this pandemic catastrophe we received a portfolio from a young photographer, Zuka Kotrikadze of Tbilisi, Georgia, whose photos are expressions of existential aloneness, as well as of the scale of the human figure in the expansiveness of both nature and grand architecture.
Tim Gottshall

Zuka Kotrikadze

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Shooting with a cell phone camera Kotrikadze creates environments with few components, a minimalist approach that looks easy at first but – as anyone who’s tried it can attest – is maddeningly difficult to do well. There’s a verticality to many of the images, a sense of things moving upward: the soaring pillars of a grand building, the tubes that make up a pipe organ, the edges of an opening between walls that fill the frame from bottom to top, the sky as seen from the perspective of a person in the water. The elements of the compositions are as stage sets in which the occasional single human figure is overpowered by her surroundings. To add to the feeling of isolation, many of the subjects are photographed from behind or are looking away from the camera.

In counterpoint to the coolness of the emotional impact of the settings and the people, Kotrikadze employs a color palette in which the tones are muted, often leaning toward the pastel. It’s reminiscent of the tonality of Ektachrome film (remember that?), and it lends the images the look of 1960’s and 70’s illustrative photography. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine some of these photos as editorial or advertising pages from that era. There’s a softness to the light which brings to mind the work of Joel Meyerowitz in his Cape Light period. And yet these images have their own 21st century identity.

The fact that Kotrikadze’s photos were made with a digital device takes nothing away from the skill and vision he employed in creating them. Yes, they’re not like the fine hand-crafted analogue productions of many of the other photographers represented on the Aimone site, but the elements of careful and thoughtful composition are no different. There’s much to be appreciated in these images, coming as they have at this time of crisis that’s driven us all inward in one way or another, and there’s also a lot we can learn from them.