Azerbaijan is a destination for any time of year, says Vusal Nazimoglu. The Baku-based landscape photographer is known for his shots of staggering seasonal landscapes, alternating between rocky vistas covered in blankets of snow to lush orchards of pomegranate, pear, orange and apple. He speaks to Youmna Sukkar about his craft and country.
Baku: What is your philosophy when it comes to taking photographs?
Vusal Nazimoglu: For me photography is not only a profession, it is also a part of my life, my routine.What is better than capturing a moment that can be alive for centuries?!
Baku: Tell us about a photo that you think best captures Azerbaijan.
VN: The last time I saw many beautiful photos of Azerbaijan, they were taken by people I know personally. There are many photos I can think of, for instance ,of daily life in the villages, portraits of the people, landscapes and wild nature. Sometimes I’m jealous I live abroad, and can’t take as many photos as I would love to take in Azerbaijan.
Baku: Among your works, which one is your favourite and why?
VN: This is my favourite work (below). It was a long and really hard trek to climb. It was winter, I was with the Camping Azerbaijan team touring from the village Laza (Gusar) to Kuzun (Gusar). Slippery hiking valleys, high snow which was hard to walk through, but there were happy faces after a long and tired day. I describe this photo as a connection between human and nature, equality, and the power of desire.
Baku: What is your aim when it comes to taking photographs? Are you trying to “sell” Azerbaijan in the summer?
VN: Sometimes I print and send them as a card to my friends abroad, many of them want my photographs as wallpaper.I don’t need to sell them, I prefer sharing.
Baku: What inspires you?
VN:The nature, and always looking for new adventures.
Baku: What makes a great image stand out from a good one?
VN: No matter what camera you have, I think the point is the moment and the situation. That is the aim, get it, and snap! Equipment does not play a huge role.
Baku: What do you find special about Azerbaijan in the summertime?
VN: First of all, Azerbaijani people, no matter summer or winter, their hospitality and care are irreplaceable. In the summertime, sun, nature, the Caspian Sea, national cuisine – every part is valuable.
Baku: Having travelled to many places, how has photography enabled you to connect with local cultures?
VN: Before travelling I prefer to read about the place, the culture and history about the country or city. But I believe that the camera is almost a connection method, that connect us with different cultures. Some people even trying to help you by posing at your camera, it makes me happy.
Baku: Many of your landscape shots in Azerbaijan seem to focus on the juxtaposition between nature and the people. Is there a reason for this?
VN: This is because the people are part of the nature; they have to be together, that is why most of my photos reflect the country life.
Baku: How would you describe your relationship with the Azerbaijani landscape?
VN: The Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea, wide variety of landscapes, crests, highlands- they almost say something. Azerbaijan is my motherland.
Interview by Youmna Sukkar
All photography by Vusal Nazimoglu
Online editor: Candice Tucker