Photographer and teacher, Yuri Mechitov was fond of photography since his childhood, which soon determined his professional path – in 1972, after graduating from the Tbilisi Polytechnical Institute, he began working as a photographer at the Georgian Film Studio and since then most of his life had been connected with the art of cinema. Mechitov’s first personal exhibition was organized in 1978 at the Tbilisi House of Cinema. In 1979, he started making a series of photographs depicting the life of the film director Sergo Parajanov, which continued until the latter’s death in 1990. Mechitov published photographs taken over the 12 years of friendship in the form of albums: in 2009, the album Sergei Parajanov – Chronicle of Dialogue was published, and in 2014 – Sergei Parajanov which united photos taken in the last years of the director’s life accompanied by the photographer’s texts.
In 1985, during the perestroika period Mechitov, together with his associates, formed the photo group Point of View with a mission to put photography at the forefront of modern fine art.
The group, which had gathered together people of mainly technical education (Yuri Mechitov, the mining engineer Guram Tsibakashvili, the chemist, mathematicians David Sulakvelidze and Gia Bazhze, as well as the musician Jano Demetrashvili and others), had a distinct goal to promote the art of photography and create a photo history of current turbulent events. The main criterion shared by the group members was the commitment to photorealism.
The group existed until 1989 and commenced the new era of censorship-free photojournalism.
One of the results of the group’s activity was the exhibition ATATUI, that is, “an archive of current atavisms, truisms, utopias, and intrigues.” It showcased the absurdness of the Soviet System by the Soviet-era archival photographs to change the viewer’s perception of Soviet reality.
During the same period, Mechitov’s personal exhibition Modern Georgian Portraits was held at the Merani Publishing House. There, the black and white portraits of people of different social classes and professions were collected such as the Organ Grinder (1981), Mailman (1980), The Monument to Lenin in Manglisi (1987), etc. Point of View group held 5 group exhibitions and disbanded in 1989. According to Mechitov, he developed as an artist during the very period of Point of View.
Since 1989, like Guram Tsibakashvili and others, Mechitov began working in the field of photojournalism, documenting political protests and rallies of the 90s.
In 2010, the album 101 Portraits by Mechitov was published.
He is a co-author of the album The History of Georgian Photography (2013) and the author of several photo series, among them Pirosmani Reincarnation, Recollections of the Past, and Georgian Wine.
He participated in 50 group exhibitions and to date has held 20 personal shows. He is engaged in teaching and lecturing at several art institutes.