On 20 November, more than 200 people attended the opening of a stunning new photography exhibition at La Galleria Pall Mall, located near Trafalgar Square in London. During the evening, the winners of the hotly-contested Azerbaijan Through the Lens photography exhibition, organised by The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), were announced. Sabina Rakcheyeva, Cultural Advisor to TEAS, revealed that the winner was Asim Talib for his photograph Old Men, taken in 1985 in Kelbajar, Karabakh (currently occupied by Armenia). Mr Talib, a professional photographer since 1977, received £2000 of travel vouchers.

In total, this exhibition showcased 100 photographs of contemporary Azerbaijani people, culture, landscapes and architecture.
Over the course of several months, around 750 photos were received from amateur and professional photographers based in Azerbaijan and across the world. The exhibition succeeded in capturing the very essence of this fascinating country, which sits on the Caspian Sea. All of those who attended were entranced by the views of this country and the remarkable quality of the images.

Ms Rakcheyeva said: “This competition was a new initiative for TEAS. Photographers had a free rein creatively to convey their impressions of Azerbaijan. TEAS and the judges were delighted by the range of the submissions, and we hope that Azerbaijan Through the Lens inspires those who have not previously visited the country to do so.”
First Prize: Old Men by Asim Talib

H.E. Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK, remarked: “This is a beautiful exhibition, organised by TEAS, which is introducing my country to London and across Europe. I hope that all attendees will remember these views of Azerbaijan. These photographs are pieces of art, and it is an excellent idea to introduce my country in this way.”
One judge, the renowned photographer Henry Dallal, who has previously been commissioned to photograph H.M. The Queen, commented: “My fellow judge, Caroline Metcalfe, Picture Editor, Condé Nast Traveller, and I enjoyed exploring Azerbaijan through these beautiful pictures. Azerbaijan is a unique place, filled with history and culture. All the photos made me want to return to Azerbaijan to take more photographs showing the beauty of the country and the people.”
First Prize: Old Men by Asim Talib
The exhibition will tour the major European cities in which TEAS has offices during the course of 2013.


First Prize: Old Men by Asim Talib.

Second Prize: Bibi Heybat Mosque by Etibar Jafarov

Third Prize: The Flames and the Needle by Fuad Babayev