In 2015 I was asked to visit Dagestan for a book project I was working on. As an Asia specialist, the North Caucasus was a region I had never been to before and knew ever less about. Usually, I try to learn as much about a place as much as I can before I visit, through reading books, reports etc… but Dagestan had very little especially outside of Russian language websites. So my arrival at Makhachkala airport was really the beginning of my learning process. Fortunate to be connected to some wonderful local photographers for the next few weeks they showed me their Dagestan, the mountains they loved, the villages they lived and the culture that they adored. As a result, my photographs are really a visual personal discovery, a documentary that started at zero and slowly developed as I slowly learned and explored this new place. I learned about the people and their ways as I began to photograph them.