Photo School

Sergey Parajanov. Chronicle of the Dialogue.

book cover

Film director and painter Sergei Parajanov… Author of poetic films, numerous scripts, paintings, collages and assemblages…He was the man whose life had been extremely spellbinding. I had been lucky to have close relationships with one of the most creative man of the 20th century. I had thoroughly enjoyed his company, which had been quite an occasion every time we met this amazing man.

The photo album proposed is based on my book “Sergei Parajanov - Chronicles of Dialogue”. It was issued at the end of 2009, by Tbilisi publishers - “GAMS Print”, which I am really very grateful for. This excellent 460 page edition consists of more than 2000 photos and is available only in Russian language. It depicts the last, Tbilisi period of Parajanov’s life, from the first day of my acquaintance with him till the end of his life. Even though, I am very proud of my unique work, which slowly turns into a rarity book, and to which I devoted almost two decades of my life, still I desire to publish more accessible edition for international readers.

In addition, as a photographer I would prefer my photographs of Sergei to be seen as
a full-fledged works of art. Therefore, on the broadsides of this new book there is presented only one photo of maestro at a time, with its corresponding text in three languages: Russian (Parajanov spoke and thought in this language); French (the French helped him to get out of the jail; he had always been successful in Paris; French film director Patrick Cazals was the first foreigner who wrote a book about Sergei) and English (universally recognized language in international communications).

There is one new mystic story in this album along with the photography of Sergei Parajanov, shot during his funerals in Yerevan. Noteworthy that only after publication of “Chronicles of Dialogue”, more than 20 years after taking this picture, I have found one interesting detail which escaped my notice before. But I do not wish to run ahead, you will get to know everything at the end of this book.

The afterword, wherein I have made an effort to generalize the significance of Parajanov’s figure and his art, is taken from “Chronicles of Dialogue” and is included here without any modifications. The truthfulness of my analysis was not borne out by past years, but on the contrary it is more relevant now than ever.
And as for myself, I keep communicating, arguing, admiring, agreeing or disagreeing with Sergei Parajanov.
Most importantly I still enjoy Sergei’s company, who is now immortal.
And I wish you to enjoy the same thing!

Yuri Mechitov 

Sergey Parajanov. Chronicle of the Dialogue.


When Sergey Parajanov passed away, I was left with pain, sorrow, regret and an immense photo archive. Practically every day of our almost 12 year long relationship was filmed by me.

at wall 1Sergey was fond of being photographed, quite often was the author of the compositions, which later proved to be the best. I indulged him with photographs and part of them he immediately autographed and gave away, the rest he used for his numerous collages. Parajanov praised me for my shots in every way, saying: ”Take my photographs more often, your (?!) future is in them.” But once he sent me an amazing letter.

My dear and beloved Yura!

I beg of you not to take my photographs anymore. You have created the splendid portrait of me and that is enough for a life. Don’t shoot me with your camera. You have taken approximately 1000 photographs, related to me. Even sold at 10 kopeks each it will make the sum, which I will never be able to pay. I am tired of struggling with my conscience every time I receive another set. Believe me, I spare your creative potential and love you very much!!!

Sergey was right- even in his lifetime, and even more after his death, there was a great demand for my photographs of Parajanov for various publications, exhibitions, films, sculptural compositions… I even managed to buy my first, though second hand, automobile with the payment I got for one of them. These photographs, some copyrighted, some not, have been spread all over the world. As for me, I’ve been haunted by an ambitious thought to see my best shots of Sergey Iosifovich gathered under one cover. I made a few attempts to compose a layout, but every time something went wrong, I was not satisfied.

About two years ago my old friend, a writer and a director, Levon Grigorian advised me to give the book the title “Sergey Parajanov. The Chronicle of a Dialogue”, in which I would speak in more detail about my relationship with Parajanov. This title predetermined the concept and the architectonic of the book, and the work started.

Now the book is in front of you. It is the tribute to the memory of the great artist, who with his life and work has influenced and still continues to influence those of the new generation who crave for true, elevating art. Personally I have been taught much by Parajanov, though his lessons were at times extremely hard to take for the man who was far from the world of beauty then. While working with him I was never tired to get amazed how he got the supreme cinematographic quality by daringly putting together the most controversial things.

I would like the reader of this edition to be able to get an access to the extraordinary, fantastic world, to the universe, whose name is Sergey Parajanov.

Yuri Mechitov,
December, 2006

About me

Thousands of my negatives are waiting for their hour. Sometimes I think not to shoot more, but dig up archives. I have to scan all valuable negatives in order to create my whole photo-story.