I decided to become a fashion photographer because I was interested in fashion. There were too many attempts – contact with various designers. I remember how hard it was to get a pass to a few fashion shows. There was neither fashion weeks nor art weeks back then. I got on one of the shows and I think it was the first and last backstage shooting. I got inside there and saw everything. The photos came out pretty good. I do not know how I shot it, because I did not know either the light or the manual function. After that, there were many offers from different sides. At that time, it was a social platform MySpace, and it was very fashionable to publish photos immediately after shooting. I advise everyone not to do this because it is devastating. I agreed with Playboy. I think the magazine launched in Georgia in 2007. They contacted me, and then I realized that this was the only way I could socially poison people with my existence. It was a complete marketing move. I shot a naked man in my career, probably twice, because I think that a man dressed is much more interesting for me than a naked one. I was not a photographer. I was a person who had a big goal, and I always had a problem not to be called a photographer. I am a fashion photographer. The producers used to ask “A photographer of fashion?” I used to reply: “Ha-ha, no, Miss Maya, I am a fashion photographer. Do you understand where we were?
I realized that at that time it was necessary to create a special character that would have completely different interests, would be dressed differently. People are as a brand. It is how I looked at it. I went through everything, but at the same time I lost a lot of things and I actually took too much risk. I do not regret it. From now on, if you look at the old records, you will realize that this was a completely different person – from the name to the haircut, it was a fictional, well-thought-out and determined character. Two words that were very suited to each other – Jiji Rejini.
My collaboration with Playboy was a completely planned commercial move. We met 3 times and never could agree. I did not like the concept. There was too much meat and nothing else around. At the second meeting, we could not agree on a salary, because I indicated a specific figure, which was $ 1,000 per month. At the third meeting, I was offered a 6-month contract. The fact is that our cooperation took place at the fourth meeting, and we made the first issue.
Besides the brand, there was also a scandal, because, without the scandal, nothing would have happened at that time. The next step was the appearance, which was a rating. I had incomprehensible visual effects, with black hair, with certain clothes – of course, each channel wanted such a hero because it was a rating of the program. It is not my words, it is statistics. As soon as I used to come to the program, I used to create show. Fortunately, there was a person – Sofia Chkonia, who knew what a fashion photographer was, what fashion was. Then there was already a competition for young designers, and Sofia was very active in the field of fashion. At this moment, we started working together. Before Fashion Weeks, there were many other fashion-related projects. First, there was fashion photography, and then there were fashion weeks. There were – BE NEXT, ART GEORGIA and many other capsule projects dedicated to fashion from beginning to end. I do not want anyone to have the misconception that fashion has just started here, no; it has been a long time since we have been in this field.
MERCEDES BENZ FASHION WEEK TBILISI
Slowly all of this has grown into the already certain fashion week. Sofia came up with the idea and made the appropriate resource for International Fashion Week. We actually started from scratch because we implemented a completely different system even when working with designers. The designer did not have information, or he simply did not need to take into account the essence of the necessary visual elements. The show was for the show: “Let’s make a collection, applause! Then sell it. If you create a collection, you create it for a specific market, and before that, the market needs special characteristics – who you are, what you are, why you are. Suddenly, the theme of brand philosophy came up. It turns out that the brand should have its own philosophy, vision; we have introduced the international principle of work in Georgia. Professions were dying, photographers did not have a source of income. Specific suggestions were “I am a beautiful girl, come, and take a picture of me. Mostly photographers lived on a portfolio of such beautiful girls. For some reason, the designer got the wrong idea that the photographer wanted to work and shoot. It was a very difficult time because we really needed a lot of time to explain: “Do you know what? You have to pay for it. ” And ” you have to pay on time.” I think we made the regulation.
Today, Georgian fashion is ready to be exactly at the level of international fashion, we simply do not have enough finance, but this is more than an attempt. The designer works 24 hours a day, some brands make 4 collections, many companies and brands already have contracts that world-famous brands do not have. Of course, Georgian fashion is ready to go even further, and, in my opinion, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi does everything for this.
One of the most important milestones in my life was my relationship with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi because I was a creative director who was primarily responsible and then studied things that I really did not know about, as well as time management, communication with people, and the ability to communicate calmly with many people at the same time. The fact is that I got the real experience that allowed me to control things.
Tbilisi is a small city, especially in the field of fashion. A senseless rumor spread that there was a split between Sofia and me. This is nonsense because not only a fashion week but also a 15-year working relationship connects me with this person.
I started my career as a photographer with printing. This is a huge plus primarily for a photographer because you know exactly what you are getting. My goal at that time was AMARTA magazine and since then there has not been better quality in Georgia. If anyone was dreaming about VOGUE and various fashion magazines my goal was AMARTA. I probably realized what my comfort zone was from the beginning. I knew I wanted Tbilisi.
Working at AMARTA was one of the main stages. Anyone who creates something has inner ambitions, it is like steps, hop! Step by step. Amarta was one of the steps. All the covers were always made exclusively for Amarta but not created in Georgia. The content was semi-Georgian, semi-international exclusive, but the cover has become Georgian after me.
It was 2010, when I decided to make an exhibition. The source of inspiration was Sergo Parajanov. I have always had an attitude towards this person. I have loved and liked him. I do not remember how it all happened because it was sleepless for 1 month. But there was what I wanted most – recognition. Not TV, not an interview but recognition. I took it and realized that it was my first and last exhibition. Firstly, there was the first Georgian cover of Amarta, which was mine. Secondly, there was Parajanov and recognition. I realized that the time of Jiji Rejini is over.
There was a year pause.I worked nowhere, I did nothing. It was impossible to rearrange things otherwise. “Don’t call me Jiji, I am Grigor Devejiev.’’ The best opportunity for this period was Window Project by Ghvaberidze and Popiashvili, where I said that one of my works is scarce here. I contacted Irina very easily. I did not know the man. I say to people ‘’you have to offer yourself, it is quite acceptable.’’ I liked the idea; we agreed on dates, I was happy hahaha. I wanted the result. The result would be soon and most importantly good.
JAM PROJECT – LAUNCHING SOON
JAM Project is not one person, an artist who represents something. This is a group of three and in the future, there will be 4 or 5 of us. We are people who have a common vision and a common language, and this is important. One of them is a specific mission, which is not well thought out and solved today. The goal is not to collaborate with specific artists. It will happen with completely different people, social characters, and musicians. This is a conversation with many interesting people.