The Tiflis Society of Amateur Photographers


More compact was getting the photocamera and easter to carry out photographic processes, more the number people willing to study photography was increasing. The first meeting of The Society of Amateur Photographers was held in the studio of A. Roinashvili in April 1893.

The aim of the society was to support people to study photography and use it in different realm. Theoretical and practical lessons were held once in a fortnight. The laboratory of the Society was equipted with all the required equipment. Newspaper "Kavkaz" was methodically printing information about the work of the Society. Following is the one of the articles printed in 1895:

"Sunday, May the 17, members of The Tiflis Society of Amateur Photographers held excursion in one of the parks in Vera. In the programme was to try the camera of the newest construction. After shooting certain kinds of groups, there was a dinner. In the evening, the members of the Society listened to the speech about the historical way of the development of the Society, given by the Secretary of Baku Society of Photographers A. Mishon."

One of the purposes of Tiflis Society of Amateur Photographers was to collect pictures and organize an exhibition. In March 1895 the Society organized a photo departament on the exhibition of Lev Artasov, Who let them one room in his rented lodging in the city center. More than 150 photos were exhibited: city views, building interiors, snapshots taken by manual cameras, works done on silk etc.

Exhibition was a success and the Society decided to held their own exhibition. At the end 1896 the chairman of the society and the deputy member of the City Counsel D. Korganov turned with a request to Tiflis Governor noble D. Shervashidze to give his consent to organize the exhibition:

"The Tiflis Society of Amateur Photographers have the honour to inform Your Highness that during last years photographic works is moving ahead and progressing in Russia as well in Caucasus.

Tiflis Society of Amateur Photographers the aim of which is not only developing photography but also studying Caucasus region supposes to organize the first Caucasian exhibition with purpose to acquaint local photographic forces with the best Russian photographic ones and at the same time to give a push to local artists to use their knowledge and experience for the benefit of country."

The exhibition opened on April 23, 1897 in the building of Military Museum (presently Art Gallery) on Golovinsky avenue. Photocameras and equipments were also exhibited. Visitors were sorry that the Society didn't take orders or sell exhibited displays, among which were several truly valuable ones.Mostly people were gathered before the glass case of Colonel V. Varapaev, where the displayed photos were done in a manner of professor Rentgen-photos things cann"t be seeng with an eye.

The exhibition was closed on May 25. Participant received rewards.Serge Margulov, one of the member of the Society and the head of the photo laboratory received a golden medal. Among the awarded photographers were Georgians as well as their Russian collegues from many different cities; famous painter of landscapes and populizer of Caucasia G. Raev from Kislovodsk; N. Nordman-Severova the wife of painter I. Repin from St. Petersburg who was often making sketches of portraits for her husband. Also, awards were handed to the founders of the Society D. Korganov and A. Roinashvili, the first Georgian professional photographer.

It can be said that this exhibition summed up all the achievements of XIX century's Georgian photography.

Giorgi Gersamia

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