TIFA 2022 Editorial / Photo Essay

The Berikas, "Bandits" of The Road (Georgia, Caucasus).

  • Prize
    Gold in Editorial/Photo Essay
  • Jury Top 5 Selection

    Prof. William Snyder It's obvious the photographer took the time to establish a good rapport with this group of "bandits" in order to make these photos. They capture the weirdness of the situation well. A tiny slice of a very different lifestyle.

  • Photographer
    Salah Benacer
  • Agency / Studio
  • Technical Info
    Kodak Tmax 400 6x6 Argentical Pictures. Hasselblad 500cm And Mamiya 6mf.
  • Photo Date

If you drive through the Georgian Caucasus in winter, you might be stopped by men in the road. Armed with stick or a plastic sword, they waylay your car and ask for money, cigarettes or alcohol. They are called the Berikas. From poor backgrounds in rural areas, they adopt elements of a pagan Georgian ritual, berikaoba, to earn a living. Every year, from early January to mid-March, they take to the roads and block the traffic to ask for money. The proceeds, shared out equally, are used to buy seeds, land, farming equipment, a car…

56 years old. Live in France. "Salah Benacer does not correspond to the typical portrait imagined for the photojournalist, even though this designation is not quite exact as far as he is concerned: it would be more appropriate to talk about « essayist photographer » or « photographer of essays ». Essays in touch with reality and the drifts of individual and collective stories, prepared thanks to important documents regarding culture, study of the population and economy of the country, preceding a work in the field during about five weeks.