Baku

The way we interpret reality is the result of what we are in terms of experiences.  The visual memories have a fundamental influence on how we frame what we see, determining our picture language. It is who we are that makes as include or exclude some details of the picture. Often looking at my contact prints, I see how I got into compose the final picture, gradually frame after frame until, it finally appears, and get curled in red.  I was asked by the 34 Magazine picture director, to visually investigate on Baku the capital of middle eastern oil.  I shot this story  using film, not in a purist sense, it is simply because of the rituals involved into setting up a film camera, the manual work needed for loading the film, choosing the correct one, then preparing for the exposure. I believe that this slow behavior helps to understand the world around us.  Personally the use of film is like a Tibetan mantra, made of precise movements, clear concentration and between each passage there is a voice directing and adjusting the frame, exposing the film is the last and final moment and only fired if all the elements are in perfect balance. Nothing is immediate, but everything make sense.

This is what I am trying to express here, the final aim of a picture is to inform and generate emotions, done through perfectly balanced aesthetics. I am not looking into the pretty, beautiful sun set light, I am looking at my sun set light, in a sense that I make my own aesthetics, it is called commitment. I thought that  symbology  would work well to express, Baku as the fire city, which are the introduction pictures of  this story. The Soviets in this part of Europe have made a big difference being the most powerful influential culture. The Soviet palace in Baku is a massive structure, my choice was just to frame the top perfectly in line with the infinity of the sky. As always happens the new city has rapidly grown around, the old one, I went to explore the old first. I set up treating each situation as a sigle story, viewing each moment like an eternal action detached from everything else around.

The old and the new it is expressed here with the view of the city of Baku, with its fast change, due to the wealth arrived from, mass oil production. In the Primosky park I tried to express, the movement of a city that is coming away from an old eastern culture and moving forward into the future.  In order to have an idea of the massive amount of the oil city production.  It took four months to cap the first Baku “gusher”, struck in June 1873 ; millions of barrels of oil covered the ground , forming vast lakes, before the huge fountain of crude was finally tamed. This were the early years of the oil boom, in those days the city of Baku supplied 90% of the world’s oil.

 

34 Magazine  \ Mamiya 645  Fuij Velvia, Fuji Provia, slide Film.  Scanned from transparencies.