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Ushguli Sunset, Georgia, 2012

Sunlight strikes the medieval towers of Ushguli, Georgia, in the mountainous region known as Svanetia, where a people live that were known as the Children of the Sun for worshiping the Sun God, Lile’.

This small community of 200 is the highest continuously inhabited village in Europe, where ancient traditions continues to flourish. Ushguli is one of those places that is straight out of a storybook – it seems to be paused in time.

I first stumbled into Ushguli in 1997 when there were no guidebooks for the Georgian Republic, no paved roads in the mountains, and no hotels or restaurants in region. It was a place where pagan traditions mixed with Christian Orthodox ways in 14th century frescoed churches and elaborate rituals with fire and wine went late into the night.

It is rare to find places untrammeled by tourists and the global economy, but I found it here in the Caucasus Mountains and have returned again and again over the years since that first visit.

Location: Ushguli, Georgia
Photograph Date: 2012
Medium: Chromogenic Print
Edition: 200
Available Sizes: 28″ x 28″, 38″ x 38″ & 48″ x 48″

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About the Photographer

Aaron Huey

Aaron Huey has photographed a combined 20 feature stories for the National Geographic Magazines. He is currently a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine, and a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler. He is also a contributing editor at Harper’s magazine, and only the second photographer to appear on the 160 year old masthead. Huey also shoots for The New Yorker, the Smithsonian magazine, the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, GEO and dozens of others.

Huey is widely known for his 3,349 mile, solo walk across America (with his dog Cosmo). The 2002 journey lasted 154 days. There was no media coverage. They walked every step. Following the walk Huey took a 3 year hiatus from shooting photos to build an artist in residence program, from the ground up, on the Pecos River east of Santa Fe. Aaron wears gold shoes and can OWN a dance floor if you give him a little bit of funk.

Huey teaches workshops and seminars in the US and works with small groups organized by National Geographic Expeditions. He is a seasoned public speaker, with lectures featured by TED.com and the Annenberg Space for Photography.

Aaron is currently in residency at Stanford University as a 2012 Knight Fellow where he is expanding the possibilities for photojournalism through radical collaborations with artists like Shepard Fairey (the most prolific street artist in America), visionary web artist Jonathan Harris, and a diverse think tank of Knight Journalism Fellows from around the world.

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