Baku through the lens of a French photographer [PHOTO]

Baku through the lens of a French photographer [PHOTO]

December 20, 2021 12:10 p.m. (UTC + 04:00)


By Laman Ismayilova

The National Art Museum presented the photographic works of Paul Nadar (1856-1939), who went down in history as an outstanding street photographer.

The exhibition “Paul Nadar: The Extraordinary Journey to Baku” is held for the first time in Baku.

About 70 photographs are presented in the exhibition co-organized by the French Embassy in Baku and the French Institute of Azerbaijan in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and the National Art Museum.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Culture Sevda Mammadaliyeva noted that the exhibition opened within the framework of cultural ties between Azerbaijan and France.

The Deputy Minister of Culture underlined that during the various years, the museum had organized exhibitions devoted to French art.

He pointed out that Azerbaijan’s rich historical and cultural heritage has always aroused great interest from travelers and representatives of foreign art, including Paul Nadar.

She pointed out that Paul Nadar is one of the famous and talented photographers of his time.

His photographs taken in Azerbaijan are of great importance as documentary evidence from Baku at the end of the 19th century.

During his visit to Baku, Paul Nadar captured the unique architectural samples of the city, Gosha-Gala Gates, Shirvanshahs Palace, local residents, etc.

French Ambassador to Azerbaijan Zachary Gross briefed visitors on Paul Nadar’s activities.

Paul Nadar (1856-1939), was the son of the no less famous Félix Nadar (1820-1910), one of the pioneers of photographic art in France in the 19th century and founder of Nadar, the prestigious photography company.

he portraits of his contemporaries made by Félix Nadar are expressive images of famous personalities from France, including Victor Hugo, Georges Sand and others.

In his work, Paul Nadar wanted to create a modern photograph that would reflect real life. In 1890, he accepted an offer to travel from Paris to Istanbul, then to Tbilisi, Baku and Tashkent.

Paul Nadar made a thousand photographs, these photographs were then presented at exhibitions and international conferences. From now on, they are kept in France in the archives of the architecture and heritage media library under the French Ministry of Culture.

“These photographs, taken 130 years ago, offer us the opportunity to look at Baku of that time through the eyes of a French photographer. I believe that the exhibition will contribute to the expansion of cultural ties between France and Azerbaijan, ”the ambassador said. added.

Next, the exhibition curator Konul Rafiyeva gave an overview of the details of the exhibition. She noted that dozens of photos selected for the exhibition are modern prints of the original negatives kept in the photographic archives of the Architecture and Heritage Media Library within the French Ministry of Culture.

The exhibition is divided into three thematic sections: “The great portraits”, “Baku” and “Travel to Turkestan”.

Then a short documentary film “Paul Nadar’s trip to Baku” was screened as part of the event.

The film was produced by photographer and historian Rustam Huseynov, curator Konul Rafiyeva and composer Araz Ozara.

Note that Paul Nadar arrived in Istanbul on August 18, 1890. After crossing the Black Sea, he reached the port of Batoumi and then Baku.

The places Paul Nadar visited during his stay in Baku in 1890 were different from what they are today.

Therefore, his photographs are documentary evidence of the great importance of the capital of Azerbaijan at the end of the 19th century.

The photographer captured images of Baku’s unique architecture, crowded shops and bazaars, local residents, wandering merchants and much more.

Some of the places in Nadar’s photographs taken in 1890 are still recognizable today, while others have completely changed in appearance.

The exhibition is held at the National Art Museum of Azerbaijan from December 18, 2021 to February 15, 2022.

The exhibition is organized by the Embassy of France in Azerbaijan and the French Institute of Azerbaijan in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the National Museum of Art. The curator of the exhibition is Kenul Rafieva.

The media partners of the event are,,,

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James C. Tibbs