Population census

From Baku's old studios to its streets of today


Population census is a prolonged photo-performance which in 2012 brought  the concept of photographic studio to the streets of Baku. Over holidays and weekends, Azerbaijani photographer Sitara Ibrahimova, who has documented various social issues including mental health, war victims and prison conditions since 2003, photographed families, groups of friends and individuals on the city’s famous seaside boulevard, which came to serve as a backdrop for portraits which, juxtaposed with older photographs of Baku residents, spanned more than a century.

Baku’s photographic portrait tradition was established by Alexandre Michon, a Russian photographer born to a French family in Kharkiv, who moved to Baku in the late 19th century. Sitara Ibrahimova, in her Population Census, juxtaposes photographs  taken in the studios that developed during that pre-revolutionary period with her own contemporary portraits, produced using all of today’s technologies.

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