Most people walk through public spaces every day without giving
them much thought, while others see the hidden beauty in
Azerbaijani photographer Rustam Huseynov is one of the few, who
finds beauty even in imperfect or vanishing places and things.
In his interview with azernews , the photographer tells
about beauty perception through his camera lens, the latest photo
projects, and the most impressive photo shoot locations.
Q: Rustam, let's talk about your first project presented
this year- a photo exhibition 'Winter Beauty of Azerbaijan', where
you acted as a curator and project participant. How do you come up
with an exhibition concept?
A: Friends often recalled my previous projects,
lamenting the fact that there were no truly exciting exhibitions
for a long time. We discussed my projects before the pandemic.
Suddenly, I figured out what was missing among these projects - the
Karabakh region. A chance to be the first one in a long time, who
holds an exhibition that features fresh shots from all parts of the
country, completely embittered me. Winter theme aroused great
public interest and provided a great opportunity to snow-covered
places, which most people are unlikely to see in the cold
Q: What places in Azerbaijan did capture your attention
as a photographer?
A: As a photographer, I was really impressed by
the spurs of the Greater Caucasus Range. Magnificently beautiful
landscapes with a strong drop in heights, waterfalls, and a unique
blend of colors in any season. So, Ismayilli District became my
favorite spot for photography.
Q: Are you planning to hold a thematic exhibition
series? What are you focusing on right now?
A: Well, not everything depends on me. If other
photographers capture impressive shots, I will gladly do my best to
show their photo works to the public. And personally, I would like
to continue my project 'Sand Waves', which displays black and white
Caspian coastal landscapes that look like a chthonic area. It's a
place, where time stops and eternity triumphs over the seconds and
the atmosphere itself prevails over its the Caspian coast's rare
guests. Sea waves, the refreshing wind that makes ripples and lines
on sand and water, an amazing similarity in the forms of sea and
sand waves, a kind of parallel reality that touches each other
become my source of energy.
Q: In 2022, you curated a number of cultural projects.
Could you tell us a little bit more about it?
A: I would like to note my much-beloved project
IMPROVISED by INDUSTRY, which is all about eternity and mortality.
Nothing lasts forever, anyway or later it crumbles, turns into
dust, and changes its purpose. Now many giants of the Soviet
industry, which at that time, were the flagships of Azerbaijan, are
in ruins. For example, an air conditioning plant or industrial
facilities at Section No. 20, which once attracted new specialists
to the city, have become a kind of artifact of the past. The
project IMPROVISED by INDUSTRY traces how these objects are now
perceived by people, who did saw them when they functioned.
IMPROVISED by INDUSTRY clearly demonstrates how a creative person
can improvise on any topic. All this can radically change the
purpose of some relic of the past and breathe new life into it. So,
even abandoned objects continue to live, acquiring a new purpose
for existence. It still attracts people, unites them, and evokes a
strong desire to create, which is the essence of the project.
Q: Do you like to edit your photos or not?
A: Basically, I try to show my photos as they
are, without editing. But if the main task is to focus on
something, for example, surrealism by photographic means, then of
course I edit my photo works after shootings.
Q: Whose photographs are your source of
A: Henri Cartier-Bresson and Alexander
Rodchenko. The first one taught me to capture a perfect moment for
a photo, while the second one taught me to see interesting and
non-standard photo angles, from which even well-known places and
objects look completely different.
Q: What are some common challenges in your work? And
what is the most satisfying aspect of photography?
A: Financial difficulties. It is very hard to
find a sponsor even for projects of national importance. It is not
customary for us to invest in art, especially photography. By the
way, many do not consider photography to be a kind of fine art. For
them, it is just fun or at best, a craft. Most participants in
group projects try to avoid administrative and organizational
issues, which is a large part of the work and the basis for
successful projects. Therefore, I don't take on projects, where I
can't handle all issues by myself. It is a kind of insurance and a
guarantee of success. Most of all, I am glad that young and
talented photographers start to appear, those who look at
photography as an art and work on themselves.
Q: What is the message you are sending to viewers
A: Beauty is all around us, just love and
protect it. Even a small piece of this beauty can warm up a heart,
avoid depression and inspire one to create. Many obsolete objects
are able to acquire a second life and benefit from a new quality.
Nothing lasts forever under the moon, everything has its own time,
its value, and its beauty. Our life also passes so quickly and it
depends only on you how bright and interesting it is.