Dimitri Jermakov


D. Jermakov, one of the most important photographer and professional of pre-revolutionary Tiflis, was born in 1846. Since 1866, he's been ingaged in photography and after 4 years he becomes one of the most well-known experts in this field. "Jermakov's photos are distinguished by their artistic perfection and are of great interest from the standpoint of ethnography and archeology" -- write the newspaper "Kaukaz". In 1877-78 years he takes a part in war between Russia and Turkey as a military photographer. In 1880 D. Jermakov founds his own photo studio in Tiflis and works successfully in many different genres.

Photographer traveled a lot in different regions of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Persia, Turkey and North Caucasus taking pictures of cities, landscapes, architectural monuments and ethnic groups. D. Jermakov took part in a number of exhibitions and received high rewards. In 1897 he was chosen as a corresponding member of Caucasus Fine Arts Supporting Society. In 1907 year he becomes the member of Caucasus Departament at Moscow Archeological Society. Later in 1912 he becomes a founding member of Tiflis Fine Arts Society.

D. Jermakov often participated in scientific expeditions. In particular, during 1910 he carried out a travel in Svanety, Where he took about nine handred photos; among them are many architectural and archeological monuments. In Imereti, he photographed in details architectural monuments such as Jruchi, Katskhi, Savanee, Mgvimevi Monastery. Among the monuments photographed by him are ones that do not exist any more. We can only keep the image of those monuments according to his photos.

D. Jermakov died on November the 10, 1916 in Tiflis.

The result of his creative work for half century is a vast photo-collection that consists of about thirty thousand negatives. Even only naming the separate photographic series gives us an idea about his vast geographic range -- Tiflis and it's surroundings, Kutaisi, Batumi, Erevan, Anisi, Baku, Kislovodsk, Jalta, Ashkabad, Samarkand, Bukhara, Konstantinopol, Trapzon, Athens, Varna, Tehran, Isfahan, Abkasia, Kakcheti, Kchevsureti, Pshavi and etc.

What draws the particular interest is Tiflis series dedicated to city that has always been the creative objective of the photographer. Preserved negatives give picturesque image of almost chronological history of Tiflis's development for more than fifty years.

Collection of Jermacov, undoubtedly has a particular historical value, later bought by Georgian Society of History and Etnography and University of Tbilisi in 1918.

Besides the documentary value, works of D. Jermakov have a great artistic value too. The technical way of completing work differs by its high professionalism.

The photographer kept an eye on technical development of contemporary photography and used all the new achivements in his work. At first he worked on wet colloidal plate, later with dry bromine gelatinous plate of different formats. Contact sheets were printed on brown coloured paper. He almost never edited a film shot as the he always chose the suitable composition to fit the shot.

The characteristic feature of his artistic style is inclination towards revealing of space at most.

While shooting historical monuments, he was trying to show the nature of the monument not only to make a documentary shot of them, at the same time trying to create an impression on those who would see.

Tamaz Ghersamia

Negatives by D. Jermakov are kept in the State Museum of Fine Arts and the S. Janashia State Museum of Georgia.

Masters of Photography

Georgian | English

Copyright © 2001-2010.   The Georgian Association for the History of Photography in the Caucasus