Baku-based photographer Eldar Akberov’s work is an exploration of the emotional and spatial layers of life. Beginning his career as an architect, he started his photography practice in 2010 and quickly built respect within the artist community for his sensitivity to his subjects and his unique visual style. His work has been recognized internationally and he has exhibited in the UK, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Austria and the USA. In Baku, he has participated in various exhibitions including a joint show with artist and curator Sabina Shikhlinskaya ‘Dacha’ at the Museum of Modern Art, where he photographed neglected summer holiday areas on the shores of the Absheron peninsula, and in the group show ‘In the Eyes of Bright Fires’ at Yarat’s ARTIM Project Space, both in 2016. His images of the Absheron shore were used as album artwork for the 2017 Sonospace project of electronic music by Natasha Schiele and Anton Villeneuve entitled ‘Listening in the End Times.’ Eldar also has a printed book of photography, entitled Déjà Vu (2014). He won the 2015 award for the Photographer of the Year by the Union of Azerbaijani Photographers, and received a shortlisted nomination for conceptual photography in 2016 at the prestigious Kolga Tbilisi Photo festival in Georgia. Abroad, he was recognized for his work at the Festival of Street Photography in Moscow in 2014 and 2016. Most recently, in January 2019 he traveled with the organization Camping Azerbaijan to remote mountain villages in northern Azerbaijan as one of the photographers chosen to document the ‘Santa Claus’ project, where donated toys were handed out to underprivileged children, concluding with an exhibition of the images at ARTIM Project Space in Baku.
Using both film and digital cameras, Eldar captures relationships between things and the spaces that they inhabit, showing the influence of his architectural training. His 2016 project, ‘The Aesthetics of Situations,’ which was featured in the Kolga Tbilisi Photo festival in 2016, is a haunting meditation on the fragility of human life and our relationship with the natural world. In this series, he juxtaposed man-made objects such as an oven, a pipeline, or a broken engine, abandoned and out of context with the natural world, with the isolation of the space around them. The dislocation between the object and its surroundings emphasizes its foreignness; in this way, Eldar recast these forgotten items as art installations, but they can also be interpreted as a metaphor for humanity’s increasing distance and technology’s dislocation from the natural world. As art, they have lost their usefulness and are rendered mute, only existing to be observed though chance encounters. However, his work also shows the lasting impression that human lives have in the world around them, highlighting the cyclical quality of life. In his series “Off-season”, presented in Kiev and Vienna, he again focused on the spaces in between and around his subjects, giving them emotional resonance. His images of abandoned beach resorts are striking in their nostalgia – they speak of happier times, and of connections between families and friends that have now moved on. This narrative thread in his work can be traced into more recent works where he documents derelict areas in the Absheron peninsula. As his practice evolves, he continues to concentrate his lens on the details of social life through objects and spaces, using light, shadow and vibrant saturated hues to highlight the humanity of everyday interactions.