TODAY.AZ / Arts & Entertainment

Azerbaijani "2010 Sony World Photography Awards" photographer speaks with Today.Az

17 March 2010 [12:40] - TODAY.AZ
2010 Sony World Photography Awards has been announced in February, and will take place in Cannes, France from 22 to 27th of April. 190 outstanding photographers from 48 different countries.80,000 images.
In the professional competition there are 12 categories within the three subject genres: Photojournalism and Documentary (Current Affairs, Sport, Contemporary Issues and Arts and Entertainment); Commercial (Advertising, Fashion and Music) and Fine Art (Portraiture, Conceptual and Constructed, Natural History, Landscape and Architecture). Azerbaijani photographer Emil Khalilov has been shortlisted for Sony World Photography Awards 2010 in the professional Landscape photography category.

Mr. Khalilov, please, tell how you first got involved in photography. Was it something you felt ever since you were little, or it’s something that came to you later?

I have been interested in photography since my early childhood, but back then it was more like a hobby than something I took seriously. It wasn’t until 7 years ago when I was in the mountains for the first time that I decided to start shooting again.

As far as we know, you are the only Azerbaijani photographer to participate in this prestigious competition. So a “simple” question – what do you feel, as an artist, as a photographer, representing Azerbaijan?

You’re right - I am the only photographer representing Azerbaijan in this competition this year. However, I very much hope that there will be more participants from Azerbaijan in the future. I am indeed much honored to be shortlisted and very proud to see my country among the other countries in the list.

I think that participation in this kind of competition is not only a great chance for a photographer to represent his country, but also a perfect opportunity to test his artistic skills in a global scale.

Another thing that I am really proud of is the fact that the mud volcanoes on my photos are actually located in Azerbaijan, and they have been nominated for the "Seven New Wonders of Nature".  By the way, Azerbaijan is home to nearly 400 mud volcanoes, more than in any other country in the world.

Your official website has some of your works, of different categories, such as mountains, flowers, volcanoes, etc. Why were you listed in the professional landscape category? Was it something you chose yourself, or its up to the competition executives to decide?

Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. As you may have noticed, nature and landscape are my favorite areas of interest. I submitted my photos into two categories - landscape and architecture and as you know, my landscape photos were selected by the jury.

Often, shot photos are being “worked on” a computer, before being shown to the open public. Do you believe this process actually makes pictures better, or pictures should be left “as they were”, without any computer add-ons?

It depends on what you mean by saying “as they were”. If I digitize the photo from the film or convert it from RAW format, then some work on color correction and retouching needs to be done on the computer. Also, some computer work is required in order to increase or decrease the contrast of the image, to remove traces of dust on the sensor or the film after scanning. However, it is not acceptable for me to change the content of the image - adding or deleting objects, changing or replacing colors and etc. It is very critical that I keep my photos the way they were originally taken.

As a professional photographer, how much does it matter to you what camera to use when shooting? Do you stick to only one label, or it depends on something else?

I don’t have any particular preference. The main requirement for the photo camera is to get the task at hand done.

There are photos that simply show beauty, sadness, emotions. And there are pictures that tell you something, pictures with a meaning, a purpose. What is photography to Emil Khalilov? What do you try to show to your viewers?

First and foremost, I try to reflect nature in my photography; to show how beautiful and lively it is and how harmonious the processes occurring in it are. And I am most interested in the untouched corners of our planet which is unfortunately decreasing day by day.

T. Teymur

Some of Emil Khalilov's works:


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