One of the first photos of Svaneti captured by famous Italian photographer
02 November, 2015
One of the first photos of Svaneti captured by famous Italian photographer
Svaneti , the historical and remote region in Georgia, famous for its fascinating landscape, ancient traditions and unique towers , was captured by the camera of a world-famous Italian photographer and mountaineer Vittorio Sella. Sella's photographs
of mountains around the world are regarded as some of the finest ever made.His photographs were widely published,exhibited and highly praised.
The Italian photographer who was born in the foothills of the Alps acquired his interest in Alpinism from his uncle, Quintino Sella. The pioneer of mountain photography made a number of significant climbs in the Alps and participated in numerous expeditions on four continents, including three travels to the Caucasus in 1889, 1890 and 1896. During these years Sella visited Svaneti where he took incredible photos and depicted Svanetian villages, landscapes, ethnography, families, culture and portraits. In his diaries, Sella writes about Svans as the original, proud and noble people.

In his notes about Mount Ushba seen from the upper course of the Enguri river the photographer writes: “Mt. Ushba, the mountain of rain. At dusk this soaring peak is sublime in the elegance of its indomitable forms, if at first glance it is surprising, upon closer observation its fantastic lines simply fascinate one. The white pyramid of Mt. Tetnuld in the distance and the long snowy crest moving towards Mt. Shkhara are the background of a stupendously grandiose picture.”

It is noteworthy that one of the mountain peaks in the Greater Caucasus Mountains is named after him.

The high quality of Sella's photography was in part due to his use of 30×40 cm photographic plates, in spite of the difficulty of carrying bulky and fragile equipment into remote places. He had to invent equipment, including modified pack saddles and rucksacks, to allow these particularly large glass plates to be transported safely.

In 1890 the Royal Geographical Society awarded Sella their prestigious Murchison prize in recognition of the photographs he had taken in the Caucasus.
Astonished with the beauty of the Caucasus, different regions of Georgia and mostly with Svaneti Vittorio Sella left a unique and precious cultural heritage to Georgia as well as to the entire world.

Rezo Tabukashvili, famous Georgian film director, made a wonderful film named Vittorio Sella in 1980.

Check out the gallery:
Mount Ushba

Mount Shkhara, the highest point in Georgia
Jabeshi village

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Unique and unknown photos of 1929 Svaneti by an American photographer
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