Yanina Shevchenko & Kyler Zeleny: Georgia Georgia
Georgia Georgia is an experimental collaboration between Russian photographer Yanina Shevchenko and Canadian photographer-researcher Kyler Zeleny. As a conceptual project, it aims to challenge the viewer’s understanding of place and placelessness, explored through the photographers' collective approach.
Georgia Georgia is a photographic typology and an examination of links between two different geographic regions. The Eastern European nation-state and former Soviet country - Georgia, photographed by Yanina Shevchenko and the USA state - Georgia, photographed by Kyler Zeleny were chosen based on word-play as two supposedly different places bound by a tenuous connection— their name. The exchange worked so that each photographer would influence the other’s visual work. After each project was completed, a selection of images were compiled into a single narrative of a unified place not known to laterally exist.
The photographers have chosen not to perpetuate stereotypes that reinforce what they have known about their respective Georgias, but have decided to be open to a different way of seeing the people and places they interacted with. They didn’t intend to depict them solely as ‘the same’ or ‘the other’. Instead the images are presented as a set of diptychs that capture the very obvious and apparent differences as well as the unexpected similarities.