A photographer is a person who takes photographs. Today, with our hyper megapixeled smartphones and more or less sophisticated digital cameras, anybody can be a photographer, and a photographer can be anybody.
Said Atabekov is a photographer, an extremely talented one at that. His technical abilities: composition, depth of field, lighting, focus, exposure and speed, are those of a good photographer. But is being a good photographer enough to be considered an artist? An art photographer is a good photographer that is able to know which one of his creations is the one that gives us the same emotions about a subject that he sees from the other side of the lens.
Atabekov is an artist who works with a camera. His artworks are technically impeccable. He uses all the qualities of the machine to highlight and exalt the intrinsic beauty of the photograph in itself. However, Said also conveys a message, and as an artist one must examine and interpret it.
The black and white of the horseback riders, the iconic nomadic tribes of his land, counterposed to the areas of colour that draw the eye to notorious consumerist brands or logos, represent the paradoxical, inconsistency between the entrenched historical and social origins of his people and the modern everyday cosmopolitan lifestyle. The elegance, the beauty and loquacity with which this duality of cultural values is portrayed is stunning. Everything in Atebakov’s works is an allegorical dichotomy: Asia versus Europe, nomadic versus post-industrial, religion versus paganism. Even the ability to divide our emotions in two opposite directions at the same time is exceptional. We feel the drama and the irony, the criticism and the freshness, the illusion of freedom and the reality of dependence.
Joseph Joubert said: “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it”, and Said invites us all to debate many questions through his captivating art. Now, after experiencing Atabekov’s works, it is up to our consciences to settle those questions.
International Confederation of Art Critics