LONDON.- Baku with Love is a new photographic commission on the capital of Azerbaijan by Magnum photographer Gueorgui Pinkhassov. Situated on the Caspian Sea, Baku is a picturesque city that looks both East and West for its influences. Roaming its streets, Pinkhassov captured the atmosphere of a destination still unfamiliar to most European travellers.
Born in Moscow in 1952, Pinkhassovs career has its roots in film, and his photography is often described as cinematic. The mysterious, impressionistic quality of his pictures of Baku define that quality. Of his approach Pinkhassov says: The only thing that counts is curiosity. For me personally, this is what creativity is about. It will express itself less in the fear of doing the same thing over again than in the desire not to go where one has already been."
With a population of over two million, Baku is the largest city in the Caucasas. A city of many faces, Baku has become Buenos Aires, Tehran and Istanbul for the big screen. The walls of Baku have been the setting for classic films of Soviet and international fame, including James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies. The old town is a picturesque maze of narrow alleys and ancient buildings, walls and towers, where mosques, synagogues, Catholic and Orthodox churches are neighbours. In 2000 the Walled City of Baku became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Roaming Bakus streets Pinkhassov records its different rhythms: from the people to the architecture of the old and new districts, from the bustling energy of the port to the leisurely suburbs. Seemingly stolen from a larger narrative, these images reveal the unexpected: fixing as much on individual details and the abstraction caused by reflection or particular kinds of light, he captures the citys distinct atmosphere producing photographs as startling as they are beautiful.
The sixty images in the exhibition, selected from over 200, are part of an original commission by Baku Magazine. Founder and Editor-in-Chief Leila Alieva says, In these pictures, Pinkhassov perfectly captures the essence of the city, one with all the delights of the orient and yet an oriental capital with western charm.