Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to Azerbaijan!
This exhibition is organized jointly with Reza Deghati Photography and the IDEA campaign, without whose efforts and valuable contributions, we could not have drawn such a huge international interest to the festival.
I am happy that today we are launching first of its scale and kind environmental Youth Photography Festival & Exhibition here, in Baku.
Azerbaijan is well known for its scenic nature and rich wildlife, and recently, much attention have been given to preservation of its biodiversity.
A few decades ago, our country lacked solid environmental development plans, falling behind most countries of the region in environmental sustainability. To redress the mistakes of the past, we implemented a range of initiatives that have significantly improved our environmental performance and fostered cooperation among the neighboring states.
Today, we are leading the region in environmental initiatives and our awareness raising campaigns have already surpassed the boundaries of other continents.
Encapsulated under the themes “I Love Nature” and “I Fear Pollution,” today’s exhibition represents a unique opportunity to explore photography as an artistic medium in a vibrant celebration of images and environment.
Children’s Eyes on Earth global initiative is a platform, where young talents from all over the world can communicate important environmental issues to experts, decision makers and the international community at large.
It gives me a great pleasure to announce that we have decided to organize and host this exhibition and festival annually. It will be an extension of our continued effort to raise awareness and help draw attention to important environmental issues.
The exhibition will also unite children and youth from around the world for a common cause and inspire public to take action.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In my opinion nature photographers are, in a way, the eyes of the public.
One thing, I believe, needs to change is how photographers portray nature. Too often we see simply “pretty pictures” in social media, like those on Facebook or Instagram. As an artist myself, it is my belief that reducing nature photography to only that is not a good trend.
Pictures we see today, selected from thousands of entries by young artists from over 90 countries, are quite different. Authors of these images, despite their young age, have demonstrated astonishing creativity in depicting the planet’s social and environmental problems.
Nature photography will incentivize people to take action for preservation of our planet. It will expose environmental problems to the broader audience and will encourage us to take action.
This Festival & Exhibition will provide young contestants with the unique opportunity to develop their photography skills through a series of events and workshops in Baku.
These days we celebrate the 90th anniversary of National Leader Heydar Aliyev and the traditional Flower Festival will be a perfect avenue for young talents to see our capital in full blossom.
We are also joined here today by the representatives of leading photography magazines and world-renown experts in the field of arts and culture. For most of them, it is their first visit to Azerbaijan.
Baku has always captured the hearts and minds of its guests, regardless of their backgrounds and preferences.
This city has a hidden charm: it has something to offer for everyone.
For those who love history, a leisurely stroll in narrow alleys of Old Town will take you back centuries to the times of great Kingdom of Shirvanshahs; Art-masters can visit countless museums, workshops and galleries of the town, where they can watch our skillful artisans create sublime pieces; Azerbaijani people celebrate every style of music, ranging from national mugham to jazz; those interested in the national cuisine are welcome to indulge in local flavors; and a breath of fresh Caspian breeze at the end of the day is all you need…
In short, Baku will make you feel at home, away from home.
I want to wish great success to this initiative and congratulate all of the participants for their wonderful efforts.