TODAY.AZ / Arts & Entertainment

City of Winds through eyes of French photographer

30 September 2021 [10:31] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Laman Ismayilova

Rustam Huseynov's documentary "Paul Nadar's Baku voyage" has been screened at the first Baku Street Photography Festival, organized by the YARAT Contemporary Art Space.

Photographer and historian Rustam Huseynov, composer Araz Ozara and curator Konul Rafiyeva were engaged in the project.

The film was shot in partnership with the French Embassy in Azerbaijan and the French Institute in Azerbaijan (IFA) with the support of the Mediatheque of Architecture and Heritage under the French Culture Ministry. 

The film tells about the photographs captured by the French photographer Paul Nadar in Baku.

In 1890, the famous "The International Sleeping-Car and European Great Expresses Company" organized a trip to Transcaucasia and Central Asia. Paul Nadar was invited to take part in this expedition as a photographer. He was one of the first foreign passengers of the "Trans-Caspian Railway".

As part of this trip, traveling through the Caucasus, Paul Nadar visited Baku, the images of which were reconstructed and reinterpreted for the public via his photographs.

In his Baku photographs, Paul Nadar paid special attention to Icherisheher (Old City) known as the city's historical core.

The event was opened by the head of the YARAT cultural programs department Ulviya Akhundova, who stressed the importance of showing a documentary within the Baku Street Photography Festival.

In his remarks, the film director Rustam Huseynov noted that the photographs of Paul Nadar are of key importance not only for the history of photography, but also for the history of Baku.

Unfortunately, the State Archive of Azerbaijan does not store the originals of his works (photographer's negatives) although they are important for the history of Azerbaijan's photography.

Nadar was the first to use a portable camera in Azerbaijan, as a result of which his report can be considered the first full-fledged photo reportage of street photography in Azerbaijan.

"Paul Nadar's photographs were taken in 1890. Our film also features the cover of the first edition of Jules Verne's novel "Clodius Bombarnac" from the IFA archives. In fact, half of this novel was written from Paul Nadar's travel diary, where he described the city of Baku and his trip in general. Unfortunately, the diary was not translated into Azerbaijani, and I think it would be great in the future if it is translated and published in our country," said Huseynov. 

Next, curator Konul Rafiyeva, the first counselor of the French Embassy in Azerbaijan Julien Le Lan and the director of the French Institute (IFA) Jerome Kehl highlighted the photographer's activities. They pointed out the significance of the photographs taken in Baku. 

The film screening was followed by a performance of famous composer and musician Araz Ozara.


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