Georgia has one of the highest rates in europe for early marriages. Marriages occur mainly in Kakheti and Adjara regions, it is mostly shown among religious and ethnic minorities. In villages large number of girls are taken out of school to be married. After going to a wedding in a small village and observing the bride and the groom, I decided that this story needs to be told. I had no information before that I lived in a country with statistically one of the highest rate of early marriage in Europe.
One of the first photograph I showed to the Georgian public was a photo that demonstrated a seventeen-year old at her wedding, having only met her soon–to–be husband, in his mid twenties, on the day of their engagement. As tears dropped from her eyes, dancing in front of her house, the dance demonstrated a farewell to her family, before the wedding ceremony. A situation far too real across Georgia, in which girls — too young to comprehend marriage — are sent off by families to be wed with little–to–no schooling, and will never have the opportunity, again, to continue any form of formal education. Whence placing this photograph on social media, the response was big, hitting both ends of the spectrum. The greatest opposers of the work were ethnic minority groups, demanding the photo be taken down. Yet, the photo had created: a framework or platform for citizens to comment and debate on the issue at hand.
Daro Sulakauri (b. 1985, Tbilisi) is a Photojournalist based in Republic of Georgia. After obtaining a degree in Cinematography in the Tbilisi, she moved to New York to study photojournalism at the International School of Photography (ICP). Before graduating in 2006, she was awarded the John and Mary Phillips Scholarship as well as recognized by the ICP Director’s Fund. Upon finishing, she returned to the Pankisi Gorge in her native Caucasus nation of Georgia and continued Photojournalism. In 20-09 She won the second place of the Magnum Foundation’s Young Photographer in the Caucasus award, in her photo story “Terror Incognita”, documenting a plight of Chechen refugees on the territory of Georgia. In 2013, She Received the CSI (Civil Society Institute) award for the Best photo for Journalism. In 2009 was featured in the American Photography 25 book, Social Documentary’s best of 2008, honorable mentions in the PX3 and B&W Awards.
Daro was recognized as PDN’s 30 emerging Photographers to watch in 2011. In 2013 shortlisted for Magnum Foundation Emergency Photographers fund and selected in 30 Under 30/Women Photographers in 2014. Sulakauri won Vienna Photo Festival for her photo story “Double Aliens” on ethnic minorities in Georgia and in 2015 was awarded in by Human Rights House (HRH) in London for best portrait. She recently became a finalist at 7th Julia Margaret Cameron Award in Documentary and Editorial Category and the winner of LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards in mini-series.
Her work was exhibited worldwide and published in Forbes (USA), Mother Jones, Sunday Times, New York Times, Saveur, The Economist, Bolshoi Gorod, Vision, Bloomberg, Liberali, and other…
Since 2015 Daro Sulakauri has been the founder and a member of Georgian photo agency ERROR IMAGES.