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.
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!