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From the motives of Jules Verne to modern exotics: photo exhibition “Turkmenistan: yesterday and today”

From the motives of Jules Verne to modern exotics: photo exhibition “Turkmenistan: yesterday and today”

Ayjahan ATABALLIYEVA

The exhibition “Turkmenistan: yesterday and today” is held at the French Institute in Ashgabat. The exposition is made up of works of Paul Nadar, the 19th century French photographer, and Muhammed Amanmammedov, modern Turkmen photo artist.

In 1890, Paul Nadar, the son of celebrated photographer and master of photographic portraits Felix Nadar, went on a two-month journey through Central Asia.

Travelling from Istanbul to Tashkent, he took pictures of everyday life of people, historical monuments and landscapes. There were about 1200 negatives in his archive in total. According to Neil Piter, Director of the French Institute, about 100 black-and-white photos are made in Turkmenistan.

Photos with amazing accuracy capture the feeling and features of those times via creative angles, whether it is Amudarya River or sandy Karakum desert.

They reflect the look of people of those times, engaged in everyday stuff, due to which you feel yourself as a part of the historical process.

Paul Nadar visited almost all regions of Turkmenistan. In one of the velayats, Bey (Governor) of the city of Chardjou, depicted in his photographs, met him personally.

Later, the photographer shared memories on his trip to Turkmenistan in a letter addressed to his father, who was the best friend of the famous French novelist Jules Verne. The latter, in turn, outlined the story in an adventure novel “Claudius Bombarnac”.

Muhammed Amanmammedov shows modern Turkmenistan, with its natural landscapes, majestic mountains, rich flora and fauna as well as magic sunrises and sunsets, at his own skillful and experienced way of sight.

“I am impressed by the diverse nature of your country, which has so many unique, exotic places for tourists,” admitted Neil Piter, noting that any visitor of exhibition, whether he is a foreigner or a local one, would discover a completely “different” Turkmenistan.

The exhibition will last until 17 March.