July 12, 2021



Photography by Chichek Bayramly
Interview by Melanie Meggs

Chichek Bayramly is an architect from Azerbaijan who loves traveling and discovering new places and faces of her native country. She presented her first photo-project in 2020, 'Island in the Mountains', in the frame of Tbilisi Multimedia Museum Grant program for women of Caucasus. Her photos are mostly about the lifestyle of villagers, architecture, nature, colours and patterns around.

TPL: Chichek please tell us about yourself. How did you become interested in photography?

CB: I was born in Ganja city, Azerbaijan and have lived in different cities of Russia since I was 7 months old. In Kazan, Russia I studied architecture.

My interest in photography started after exploring my family archive photos. Every summer holiday we came into our apartment in Ganja - the first thing I did was to sort through all the photo albums. I started my trip into photography when I was 14 years old with my fathers old Zenit 122 camera. At first I shot with no idea how that camera works, just intuitively. I fell in love with the process of shooting, the long wait for seeing pictures made me excited.

I moved to Baku, Azerbaijan in 2014 and continue my photography experience here.

TPL: Can you tell us what your series 'Island in the Mountains' is about? How did the idea come about?

CB: My first photo project 'Island in the Mountains' was made in the frame of Tbilisi Photography and Multimedia Museum's grant programme. It is about the specific village named Khinalig, located 2300 meters above sea level in southeast Azerbaijan. It has its own language and interesting architecture (each house roof is the terrace of the house on top at the same time) with colorful interiors, decorated carpet patterns. The main task of the programme was to show the isolation. Photographic scenes address the ambiguous narratives probe tensions between human connection and separation, women labour and childhood, intimacy, and isolation.

TPL: Do you have a favourite place to photograph?

CB: I have found that I rarely take pictures in the city I live in: my daily life is too intensive, and I can not observe things happening around.

Mostly I travel to regions of my country when I get "hungry". I find inspiration in nature, architecture of villages and people living there.

TPL: Do you have any favourite artists and photographers?

CB: I have photographers whose works I follow, but I do not make them my favourites, just to avoid copying them subliminally. I prefer to watch drawings of some artists to get inspiration on composition, colors, and mood.

TPL: When you take pictures, do you usually have a concept in mind of what you want to shoot, or do you let the images just "come to you", or is it both?

CB: Usually both

TPL: Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? What camera do you use? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?

CB: My favourite camera is the Fujifilm X series. Now I mostly use the Fujifilm X-E2 and sometimes I bring with me my new Sony a6400. Compared with Fuji we could not make a strong connection between us yet. But with Fujifilm I can show things as I imagine them before shooting.

TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist or photographer? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?

CB: I try not to make big plans for the future. Usually I find solutions spontaneously, at 'that' moment, and try to develop new things, make some experiments.

TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?

CB: For now I have some important projects in architecture, so I can not focus on photography.

TPL: "When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…

CB: Make sketches, collages, sculptures, dream and just observe."