The view from Tbilisi: the month in pictures

by Thomas

It’s been a busy month since moving from Azerbaijan to Tbilisi, Georgia:

Train travel in the former Soviet Union hasn't changed in 50 years: same coupes, same surly train attendants. The Azeri customs agents went mental when they saw my 25-year-old Pentax. My strategy never fails: I ask them to check me out in their computer, knowing full well that they don't have one and that they're too embarrassed to admit that.

Candice arrived and we immediately began the search for apartments. This was the gem of the bunch: an apartment in a building designed by Soviet arch-murderer Beria for use by his KGB officers.

Same apartment. No amount of light could have made this place any less dark.

And to think I was concerned that for all Tbilisi's progress it might have lost its surreal, post-Soviet edge. What is the nature of this establishment? Undetermined.

The Black Sea, as seen from Batumi, Georgia. Candice and I visited so I could photograph a fisherman and ended up the subject of an Oprah-like television piece, complete with skipping stones together on the beach.

Stalin's bath towel, as seen as the Stalin museum in Batumi.

Sarpi: Georgia's border crossing into Turkey. I came to photograph a boat-maker.

After two weeks in Georgia I returned to Azerbaijan to speak at a conference on journalism education (I had taught a photojournalism course at the Baku Slavic University while living there). After the conference I spent a week in western Azerbaijan shooting a documentary about landmines. Above: Emma the sound recordist (left) and Maria the director.

This is a picture of a natural water spring in rural Azerbaijan that can be set on fire.

Bears are popular attractions at rest stops in the Caucasus. This one was much more clever than he let on. After a week of interviewing countless landmine victims and romping around fields of unexploded ordnance (with safety escort), I almost lose my hand to this cute little bear. I am safe.

Derek Owen visited us in Tbilisi for five days.

Char and I at a restaurant in Kutaisi, Georgia, where we worked as official election monitors for the British Embassy.

Candice on the job, protecting the good citizens of Georgia from election fraud.

Nino "Prometheus" Sukhitashvili. The best part of getting older is that your friendships do too.

Nino's husband Zura (left) and Dato. Summer evening on our balcony in Tbilisi.

A trip with Candice, Maggie and Hans into the mountains. We helped Hans with his paragliding equipment.

Hans, preparing for flight.

Ole Char. So nice to have her here after all these months apart. I don't want to ever leave without her again.