In 2014, Patrick Bienert found himself in Georgia. For centuries this small nation on the shores of the Black Sea has marked the eastern edge of Europe—beyond the Caucasus mountains lies Asia. The collapse of the USSR brought Georgia's position in the continent into question. Today, conflict simmers over the heat of regional and generational strife. Many older, rural people are drawn to Russia and to memories of the old USSR, while younger, urban people see the future in Europe and EU membership. Writing for Another Man, I spoke to Bienert about his first monograph, East End of Europe, which attempts a portrait of this fractured country.
he captured a nation of crumbling infrastructure and forgotten monuments, domed churches and wide, open steppe. But these desolate landscapes are animated by the people the photographer encountered. "I think it's a personal story," Bienert says of the book. "It's about the people I met, and I tried to meet as many people as I could, but in the end it's my own interpretation."