It has been about 1 year since I started gathering bus stop pictures around Georgia. My camera has already shot compositions from Kakheti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Meskheti, Adjara, Imereti and Kartli. Each time I come across more and more interesting sights, and it has become a challenge to find the most fascinasting stop for which I might even go to the most remote village, however from my experience the best bus stops can usually be found on the main roads.
I first became interested in this issue, when I found a book published in 2015: “Soviet Bus Stops”. The author of the book is a photographer, who traveled around the post-Soviet countries and pictured most of the original bus stops. I did not spot Georgia in this book, although I am sure that I would find many similar interesting designs here, so I embarked on my journey to search for them. The result is more varied than I had expected, especially if we consider that I have not yet covered even half of Georgia.
On the road, interesting bus stops change one another, although social observation on them showed some interesting results. For example, more than half of these are dead, and nobody uses them. I have seen myself soaking passengers on the roads, who are holding umbrellas to protect themselves from downpour, instead of waiting for the transport at a stop. This is probably due to the lost culture nowadays that bus or mini-bus only stops at a specialspot. Now public transport will stop wherever you wave your hand, therefore probably the culture of using bus stops practically vanished. In addition, in many cases they are so abandoned that it is just uncomfortable to wait there.
Many details have remained in Georgia since Soviet times and one of them is bus stops. Those decorated with colorful mosaic compositions are changed with ones using brutal concrete forms – each stop has its independent style and character, making them even more diverse.
With this project, all I wanted to say is that people who travel or just move from one point to another should notice these tiny objects and perceive their diversity and the fact that Georgia has quite a big legacyfrom this perspective and this is very good news. Also I would be very happy if the government took care of returning this tradition of stopping public transport only at bus stops, and therefore restore the function of these places.
However, my main purpose is to publish a book. The book, which will make Georgian citizens as well as tourists view the country from a different aspect and make their journey even more fascinating. The book, will become a good gift for foreign friends and as well as that it will become a memory for those who have traveled in this country.
Until then, there’s even more travel ahead, this time with a professional photographer, in different parts of the country, to shoot more stops and prepare seriously for the final aim of publishing the book.
Author/Photo: Nanuka Zaalishvili