James Kerwin Photographic
Fine Art & Workshops
 www.jameskerwin.uk

De Facto

A new 2018 series release, showcasing former Soviet architecture in the nation of Georgia and the war-torn region of Abhkazia, a disputed territory on the black sea sandwiched between Georgia and Russia and over-looked by the Greater Caucacus mountains.

Abhkazia, with a population of only around 340,000 is a former war-torn land that although might not appeal to some – for me it sounded like a paradise, away from the usual tourist hustle and bustle and promising not only stunning raw landscapes but also thousands of decaying and abandoned buildings with lots of history attached.

Check out the full story over on my blog for more history, a behind the scenes story and many more images (including the landscapes) that didn’t make the portfolio selection below.

Intersection 

Intersection 

Sanatorium Iveria - According to an online Georgian news site, the Iveria was sold a couple of years ago for a little over one hundred thousand US dollars. Not a bad price, but there is a catch: the terms of sale state that the buyer should invest at least €6 million in building a hotel with 160 rooms and employ over 80 people. Sadly the terms don’t state that any original features must be retained.

Missing Parquet

Missing Parquet

A stripped floor inside the same Sanatorium, fails to hide the beauty in the ceiling.

The Companionway

The Companionway

A stunning set of stairs (multiple stairs) inside a former sanatorium in Georgia. I am proud of this composition and it is one that I thought long and hard about whilst on location.

CROSSOVER

CROSSOVER

The former Hotel Sakartvelo - I actually do not mention this former hotel in my video, it is by far the place in the worst condition and by far the place that hit home the most to me about the plight of these IDP’s that have now been making these buildings their homes for over 25 years. Incredible situation for anybody to find themselves in.

STANDING TALL

STANDING TALL

Hotel Medea - I actually had a “wow” moment when I first laid eyes on the entrance to the former hotel Medea, with it’s stunning blue ceiling and marble columns. I visited this location on both of my visits, and on both times I got speaking to the locals here and asked if it was ok to take images of their now home, despite 50% of the large structure now under heavy decay.

ELECTRIC TONES

ELECTRIC TONES

Shooting back to front this is the same former sanatorium, shooting on the balcony in the image above.

THE CLAW

THE CLAW

Imereti Sanatorium - This amazing building is 50% in use as well and it is distinctive as it has a yellow and blue dome with columns and a stunning trio of fantastic staircases, one of which is is heavy decline.

SPIN OFF

SPIN OFF

The same building as the previous image. One of the things that sticks with me about this building were the little gardens created out of the rear, by the now residents. This made you appreciate the lengths that the people have gone to call these buildings home.

The Patrol Lookout

The Patrol Lookout

We thought we had missed the chance to see this former Sanatorium, turned out we were in time - just as this former sanatorium is currently under renovation.

STRIPPED

STRIPPED

Sanatorium Meshakhte - The grand hall looks a little worse for wear now that this former sanatorium is now under renovation.

FOYER

FOYER

Hotel Metalurgi - This former hotel has a large number of occupants and had fewer damaged and abandoned parts than many other hotels or Sanatoriums that we visited.

Pink & Baby Blue

Pink & Baby Blue

The main hall inside a former sanatorium now housed by a handful of refugees in Georgia.

Forgotten somewhat, these refugees need to fend for themselves year on year.

TREATMENT CENTRE

TREATMENT CENTRE

Bathhouse Number 5 - I visited this bath house twice in 2018, and this is the place the amount of graffiti has really taken a foot-hold. Disappointing. The interior was large and it would have looked pretty impressive in its day. Several of the deep, yellow-tiles baths are now heavily graffiti’s, but we did find one angle to shoot here.

 The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary

Hotel Tbilisi - A building very much now the home to IDP’s (Internally displaced person’s), being respectful here was paramount - I also had to ensure that I cleaned up the courtyard prior to taking my one photograph and also seek permission out of respect.

END OF THE LINE

END OF THE LINE

Tskaltubo train station, Western Georgia. Now under renovation, the town as a whole has the potential to become a new cultural and tourist center of Western Georgia. Nearby the International Airport in Kutaisi, which receives a large number of international flights every day; important tourist sites like Sataplia (with dinosaur footprints), and the Prometheus Caves are rated one of the best in Europe.

THE TAKEOVER

THE TAKEOVER

Stepping foot over into the war-torn region now and ivy takes over the stairwell of this heavily decayed meeting place and communal hall in Abkhazia.

All Encompassing

All Encompassing

A brightly coloured former Soviet theatre lights up what was a miserable day outside, Abkhazia 2018.

BURNT TONES

BURNT TONES

The heavily stripped shell of a former train station booking hall, stunning height, details and colour. Abkhazia 2018.

Grand Station

Grand Station

The wing of a beautiful former train station in Abkhazia. The architecture we came for - despite the weather.

Waterlogged

Waterlogged

An abandoned train station in the former Soviet Abkhazia, 2018.

SQUARES & SHAPES

SQUARES & SHAPES

A disused train station in Abkhazia shot in 2018. One of the cleanest examples.

Light Beam

Light Beam

This grand building was actually in one of the most disgusting states that I have ever seen, it is essentially now a drug den. The war torn region of Abkhazia, 2018.

Circumvoluted

Circumvoluted

An abandoned sanatorium come hotel with so many nice staircase shots. Abkhazia 2018.

WELCOME

WELCOME

The entrance to a park in the capital of the breakaway territory. Abkhazia 2018.

Upstairs/Downstairs

Upstairs/Downstairs

A former Soviet Sanatorium come hotel that has been derelict since the war with Abkhazia in the 1990s.

Room With A View

Room With A View

A lot of work was required to clean this up from very recent graffiti in Photoshop - but I felt it was worth the effort to clean up this abandoned Soviet Sanatorium. Abkhazia 2018.