Ushguli is an area of four small villages and some 200 people that stands more than 2,000 meters high in the Caucasian Mountains of Georgia. Snowbound for six months of the year, the region is now a Unesco World Heritage site for its preserved medieval buildings that form defensive towers.
Georgia – Photo Tip

People make the place

Photo by Luis Dafos

Georgia – Photo Tip People make the place

I have always been fascinated by certain geographical names. Loaded with history or evocations of a legendary past, they have captivated me over the years: Samarkand, Lhasa, Timbuktu... As for others, as soon as I saw a picture, I knew that I had to go.

Luis Dafos
Luis Dafos Travel Photographer

Like a magnet, a photograph of the fortified towers of Svaneti in Georgia drew me to that remote edge of the Caucasus. It had the power of myths, the spell of a wild and inaccessible beauty. Colchis, Prometheus, the Golden Fleece... But one word stood out over the rest: Ushguli.

That was the place – but places, above all, are about the encounter with their people. Wine is a core part of Georgian culture and, in Georgia, I was after one picture over the rest: the precise moment of a toast. I would need a very wide angle, and to be allowed to sit with the merrymakers.

Sometimes, the photographic technique has as much to do with the right aperture as it does with a well-timed smile or a handful of memorized words. Even, why not, with the skill to shoot with one hand as you raise a glass of wine with the other. Gaumarjos!

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Eating and drinking together is the bedrock of social life in Georgia, reaching its height in the traditional "supra" that attends major social functions such as weddings and funerals. An important part of the ritual is a long series of toasts to the event itself, Georgia, peace, women, ancestors and children. Photo by Luis Dafos

Luis Dafos

Luis Dafos

Canon EOS 50D

Aperture
ƒ/11
Exposure
1/80
ISO
100
Focal
12 mm

Eating and drinking together is the bedrock of social life in Georgia, reaching its height in the traditional "supra" that attends major social functions such as weddings and funerals. An important part of the ritual is a long series of toasts to the event itself, Georgia, peace, women, ancestors and children.

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