Magomed Shapiev is a staff photographer at Dagestan’s presidential press office, but his best pictures are not related to government officials at all. He’s a popular Instagram user with more than 120,000 followers, who enjoy his pictures of the exquisite natural beauty of the Caucasus mountains.
Shapiev captures beautiful ancient towers, rivers and waterfalls using just his smartphone camera. He marks them with the hashtag #exploringdagestan to let people discover this fascinating Russian region, which went through the trauma of war in the late 1990s. His peaceful landscape scenes are a far cry from the image of a North Caucasus republic ravaged by war.