2012 in photos

Since everybody posts their set of the best photos of the past year, why can’t I do the same? As opposed to my previous annual summaries, I have no intension of writing any flowery obituary text for 2012. It had its good and bad moments, and even though unlike in 2011, I didn’t travel much outside of Georgia, it was rather rich with travel photographs. So, here’s my 2012 in pictures.

The year started with occasional shooting sessions that resulted in a few single photos like this:

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Rustavi steel plant. January 21, 2012.

A cattle market near Marneuli, Georgia. 2012

A cattle market near Marneuli, Georgia. January 2012

A roadside grave on Tbilisi-Kazbegi road, Georgia. January, 2012

A roadside grave on Tbilisi-Kazbegi road, Georgia. January, 2012

From March to May, my wife and I  worked on a book about Vashlovani National Park.

Vashlovani National Park book cover.

Vashlovani National Park book cover.

The book is available for downloading through this link. Below are a couple of photos that were not included in the book.

New born lamb in Vashlovani National Park, Georgia. March 7, 2012

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A shepherd inside of his cabin. Vashlovani National Park, Georgia.

From April to June I had  “The Unpromised Land” exhibited in different Georgian cities. In one of them, Gori, while setting up the exposition in the local theater building, I took the next photo of the theater crew collaboratively fixing one of the flood lights before a rehearsal.

Fixing stage lights the Georgian way at Gori theater. May 13, 2012

Fixing stage lights the Georgian way at Gori theater. May 13, 2012

In June, I had a part of my Svaneti project exhibited in Berlin. The exhibition was held at the Humboldt University and was based on my ongoing project on changes in Svaneti, a Georgian mountain region.

Berlin exhibition poster.

Berlin exhibition poster.

And this picture I took while visiting my friends in Leipzig.

The wall of  St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig, Germany. June 2, 2012.

The wall of St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig, Germany. June 2, 2012.

In July I was commissioned to take portraits of elders of various Georgian folk ensembles. It was a very interesting commission, and the scarcity of time was its only shortcoming. However, I was pretty happy with the results. Here are a few photos from my visits to the ensemble elders.

The 91-year-old Andro Simashvili, one of the eldest Georgian folk musicians in his house in Kakheti. He looked great for his age, I must say, and despite prescribed abstinence from alcohol, he was endeavoring to have "a cup" of wine with us. :)

The 91-year-old Andro Simashvili, one of the eldest Georgian folk musicians in his house in Kakheti. He looked great for his age, I must say, and despite prescribed abstinence from alcohol, he was endeavoring to have “a cup” of wine with us. 🙂

Veteran folk singer Iuza Beradze makes a joke, as his wife helps him fasten the traditional Imeretian dress. Beradze, who lost his son during the war in Abkhazia in 1990s, says that only the song and humor helped him survive all these years.

Veteran folk singer Iuza Beradze makes a joke, as his wife helps him fasten the traditional Imeretian dress. Beradze, who lost his son during the war in Abkhazia in 1990s, says that only the song and humor helped him survive all these years.

Georgian folk dance veteran Revaz Vanadze with his wife in the village of Ghorjomi, Georgia. From the series of elderly folk musician portraits for the ethnographic project by Bank Constanta.

Georgian folk dance veteran Revaz Vanadze with his wife in the village of Ghorjomi, Georgia. From the series of elderly folk musician portraits for the ethnographic project by Bank Constanta.

Zaqro Parselidze, a veteran folk musician, poses with a traditional Machakhela rifle and a panduri, a string instrument popular in many Georgian regions.

Zaqro Parselidze, a veteran folk musician, poses with a traditional Machakhela rifle and a panduri, a string instrument popular in many Georgian regions.

While working on this series, I met a group of young guys who studied and practiced Georgian traditional martial art, and decided to make a story about them. Here’s a couple of photos from the story.

Giorgi Javakhishvili, 17, a member of the Black Shields martial arts group prepares for the practice attack from his teammate.

Giorgi Javakhishvili, 17, a member of the Black Shields martial arts group prepares for the practice attack from his teammate.

lacksmith Giga Gorgiashvili (left) watches his friend and companion Zakro Nonikashvili evaluate the sharpness of a sword blade. For almost a decade now Gorgiashvili has been a man behind the armory of The Black Shields.

Blacksmith Giga Gorgiashvili (left) watches his friend and companion Zakro Nonikashvili evaluate the sharpness of a sword blade. For almost a decade now Gorgiashvili has been a man behind the armory of The Black Shields.

In September my wife and I finalized yet another publication: the book based on my 2011’s The Unpromised Land project. The project documents the modern life of Meskhetians  who were deported in 1940s from Georgia to Central Asia.

The Unpromised Land book cover.

The Unpromised Land book cover.

In September, National Geographic Traveler Russia published a photo from my Svaneti project.

A story page from National Geographic Traveler Russia.

A story page with my photo (right) from National Geographic Traveler Russia.

In the end of September I  traveled to Ajara, a seaside mountain region in Western Georgia to do some research on traditional beekeeping practiced there. Some beekeepers still hollow logs to make hives, some of which are put on the top of the trees, where wild bees later swarm.

An evening in Ajara mountains. September 2012

An evening in Ajara mountains. September 2012

Omar Dolidze, 28, a local beekeeper in Ajara does regular maintanance at his apiary.

Omar Dolidze, 28, a local beekeeper in Ajara does regular maintanance at his apiary.

In October I worked on a story about the co-existence of different minorities in Georgia. The story was published in Québécois magazine L’actualité.

Roman Glonti, 42, a bathhouse attendant in Tbilisi baths.

Roman Glonti, 42, a bathhouse attendant in Tbilisi baths. October 13, 2012.

The residents of Tbilisi's oldest district Abanotubani (Bath District) playbackgammon next to the dome of one of the baths. October 12, 2012

The residents of Tbilisi’s oldest district Abanotubani (Bath District) play
backgammon next to the dome of one of the baths. October 12, 2012

October and November were unusually warm in Tbilisi. Rainy days were rather scarce, but even they were rather pretty, like on that day, when, while tending to the crack on my car’s windshield, I observed a gorgeous rainbow over Tbilisi.

A rainbow in Tbilisi. October 24, 2012

A rainbow in Tbilisi. October 24, 2012

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad construction site. November 2012

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad construction site. November 2012

And lastly, in December I traveled to Western Georgia in hope to depict the cheese making process and the lifestyle of shepherds who live in swamps. Rich with marshes, the area around Poti, a major port town in Samegrelo region is well known for Sulguni, a stretchable soft cheese. Long story short, I didn’t manage to attend the process of cheese making, but have met a few shepherds who received us very warmly, and cooked us traditional ghomi, a corn based porridge, so thick, that sometimes it is served without plates, by just piled on a long bench-like table. Anyways, here are a few photos from that year-concluding trip.

Amiran Nachkebia, 86, stands in his boat near the cabin he lived in for the last 50 years. He prefers to live separately from his family, and just allows them to visit his cabin from time to time. Presently, Nachkebia has three cows and a garden patch, where he grows tomatoes, cucumbers and greens. He doesn't sell them though, saying that they are "only meant for the guests."

Amiran Nachkebia, 86, stands in his boat near the cabin he lived in for the last 50 years. He prefers to live separately from his family, and just allows them to visit his cabin from time to time. Presently, Nachkebia has three cows and a garden patch, where he grows tomatoes, cucumbers and greens. He doesn’t sell them though, saying that they are “only meant for the guests.”

Gia Jujua, a 43-year-old cattle herder, makes traditional corn porridge in his cabin. Formerly a meteorologist by trade, Jujua started herding cattle in 1990s, when he, like many other Georgians, lost his job due to a political and economic crisis. If things are well, Jujua says, he takes two-week long shifts with cattle, after which he spends two weeks with his family in a village roughly 1.5 hours of drive away.

Gia Jujua, a 43-year-old cattle herder, makes traditional corn porridge in his cabin. Formerly a meteorologist by trade, Jujua started herding cattle in 1990s, when he, like many other Georgians, lost his job due to a political and economic crisis. If things are well, Jujua says, he takes two-week long shifts with cattle, after which he spends two weeks with his family in a village roughly 1.5 hours of drive away.

Hunters head for evening hunting, as smoke rises over the Paliastomi lake near Poti, Georgia on December 28. Paliastomi lake marshes are part of the Kolkheti National Park, and are often put on fire by hunters and cattle herders, who clear the area for easier fowling and cow grazing. Such a severe violation of the national park regulations – quite common in Georgia’s protected areas – are greatly caused by poor management.

Hunters head for evening hunting, as smoke rises over the Paliastomi lake near Poti, Georgia on December 28. Paliastomi lake marshes are part of the Kolkheti National Park, and are often put on fire by hunters and cattle herders, who clear the area for easier fowling and cow grazing. Such a severe violation of the national park regulations – quite common in Georgia’s protected areas – are greatly caused by poor management.

That’s all for now. Have a great 2013!

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