Akif Agakishi oghlu Agayev was born in Baku in 1946. He studied to be a philologist. He worked in major publishing houses across the country. He was head of the press service of the Caucasus Muslims Office. He became a father. He raised a daughter and son. He was fond of making images, as many others were in the Soviet years – the years of thaw, stagnation and unrealistic hopes... Photography at the time of technical innocence seemed after all a form of magic. Here is a piece of white paper, and not even a minute will go by before faces appear on its surface, the frozen smiles of people – loved ones, strangers, photogenic and not so much. Many people took a great interest in photography, but only a few stayed faithful. However, there were those who managed to capture a moment of life, and not just any moment, but a split second full of meaning. A click, and what seemed elusive acquired immortality! Akif Agayev was capable of this magic, even though he modestly called himself an amateur.

Discover more of Soviet-Azerbaijani photographer Akif Agayev's life and work in Nonna Muzaffarova's timeless article from our Spring 2018 issue.