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On behalf of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, I am very pleased to present this unique photo album of selected works by American photographer Paul Calhoun and Georgian photographer Gia Chkhatarashvili.  this album is the beginning of a very special collaboration between these two fine photographers.  Their collaboration began in September of 2004, during Mr. Calhoun's retrospective exhibit in Georgia, following which the two photographer decided to organize joint photo exhibits in Georgia and the United States.  This endeavor will give many people the opportunity to see the works of these two photographers we so much respect and admire.  These will be the first collaborative exhibitions of a Georgian and American photographer, and part of a larger process intended to stimulate the exchange of art and ideas between our two countries.

Georgia came to know the work of Paul Calhoun during his exhibit in Tbilisi this past September.  His beautiful photographs of American life and culture, both as individual images and as an exhibition, offered insight into the lives of American people rarely seen in Georgian popular culture or artistic life.  In addition to his remarkable photographs, we also came to admire Mr. Calhoun's work with disadvantaged young people in the United States, and his involvement with former street children in Georgia.  Mr. Calhoun began taking photographs of Tbilisi during his visit, and you will see some of those photographs in this album.

Gia Chkhatarashvili's work has been well known in Georgia for many years.  his current series of photographs of small mountain village of Svaneti beautifully encapsulate the lives of many Georgians who struggle to survive in the turbulent transition period from the Soviet Union to independence, from traditional ways of life to modern, from the East to the West.  These photographs speak volumes of the history, culture and contemporary life shared by all the people of Georgia.

I am very pleased to present to you this album, the result of successful collaboration between two accomplished photographers from our two countries, Gia Chkhatarashvili and Paul Calhoun.

Rowena Cross-Najafi
Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy

Tbilisi, Georgia
April 25, 2005