Photo by Andreas Oetker-Kast

Otar Karalashvili is the founder and director of the Book Art Center Tbilisi. A studied mathematician and artist, he has a longstanding relationship with design and publishing of photobooks as well as artist andillustrated books. In 1995 he co-founded Diogene Publishers, one of the first independent publishing houses in Georgia, initiated the founding of the Georgian Publisher’s Association in the following year and curatedthe Georgian stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1996-1999.  His work in publishing, graphic design, and book illustration – among other artistic endeavors – led to professorships in this field from 2008 on at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, the Tbilisi Free University, and the International Design School of the Georgian Technical University.  In 2009 he founded and directed Virgam Virtual Publishers – an informal creative student program that supported and supervised the creation of more than 100 picture books, artist books, and photobooks by young artists, illustrators, and photographers. After the start of the Book Art Center Tbilisi in 2012 he founded the Tbilisi Book Days in 2014, an international festival of book art and design which he curated 2014-2017, which was followed by multiple international exhibitions and awards he initiated. Since 2018 Otar is full professor of graphic and communication design at the International School of Design, Georgian Technical University.

Photo by Levan Kherkheulidze

Andreas Oetker-Kast is a freelance photographer based in Kiel, Germany. Following his studies in sociology and a successful career in public relations both in Germany and in the U.S.A., he turned to professional photography in 2004, specializing in music and documentary style photography. He was participating in seminars at the Ostkreuz School of Photography, Berlin, from 2006-2009, first under the guidance of Michael Trippel (2006), followed by Werner Mahler (May 2007-2009). Since 2006 his work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Germany and internationally and was published in books and catalogs. In 2012 he and his wife started their own publishing house bt:st verlag, to provide a home for their works and to date they successfully self-published six photobooks. He has been the recipient of several grants and awards, his latest book „Tamar, Where Are You?“, a collaborative work with Georgian photographers and writers about the country of Georgia, was awarded a Bronze Medal at the German Photobook Award (DeutscherFotobuchpreis) in 2018, and was selected as one of the finalists for the Lucie Photo Book Prize 2019 in New York City, U.S.A..

„Absolutely brilliant, the four-day workshop with Otar and Andreas helped me to develop the concept of my ongoing project. During these pleasant brainstormings their precise questions made me understand the story of my photo series even better, which is the most important aspect for making a photobook. Form follows the story and without it, photographs are just decoration.“ Nata Sopromadze