2015 Emerging Photography Contender: Marcos Andronicou

For Artsakh: Daring to Exist, Athens-based photographer Marcos Andronicou delves headfirst into the precarious landlocked landscape of Nagorno-Karabakh, an area that remains deeply affected by lingering post-Soviet conflicts between the Armenian and Azerbaijani people.

Arkadi, 14, holds young puppies in his farmyard in the ghost town of Agdam, north-east Nagorno-Karabakh. During the war, the town was used by Azerbaijani forces to bomb the capital Stepanakert. It was captured by Armenian separatist forces and almost completely destroyed during an offensive in 1993 to prevent its recapture by Azerbaijan. Due to its proximity to the front line, only a few farmers and their families live in Agdam today.

Arkadi, 14, holds young puppies in his farmyard in the ghost town of Agdam, north-east Nagorno-Karabakh. During the war, the town was used by Azerbaijani forces to bomb the capital Stepanakert. It was captured by Armenian separatist forces and almost completely destroyed during an offensive in 1993 to prevent its recapture by Azerbaijan. Due to its proximity to the front line, only a few farmers and their families live in Agdam today.

Writes Andronicou in his Artist Statement, “Artsakh roughly means garden and it is the Armenian name given to a stunning mountainous territory known today as Nagorno-Karabakh. The territory is currently controlled by the de-facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and it is essentially an Armenian-majority enclave within modern-day Azerbaijan.”

People walk past a destroyed building in the city of Shushi, central Nagorno-Karabakh. The city used to be a popular mountain tourist destination during Soviet times. Throughout most of the 20th century, the city had a mixed population of Armenians and Azeris. It was captured by Armenians in 1992 during a war between Armenian separatists from Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan between 1988 and 1994. Today, the city's population is almost exclusively Armenian.

People walk past a destroyed building in the city of Shushi, central Nagorno-Karabakh. The city used to be a popular mountain tourist destination during Soviet times. Throughout most of the 20th century, the city had a mixed population of Armenians and Azeris. It was captured by Armenians in 1992 during a war between Armenian separatists from Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan between 1988 and 1994. Today, the city's population is almost exclusively Armenian.

“Clashes between the Armenian and Azerbaijani population reached their peak with an all-out war between Armenia, Armenian separatists from Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan in 1992, following the USSR’s collapse. The war left an estimated 30,000 people dead and approximately 800,000 refugees from both sides. Despite a 20-year ceasefire, the 240km frontline between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan is a heavily militarized border where clash and diversion incidents occur almost daily. Against many odds, today’s Armenian-majority population in Nagorno-Karabakh continues to strive for either unification with ‘mother Armenia’ or for an international recognition status.”

A frontline soldier of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh poses in front an arms' cabinet at a military post in the region of Martuni, south-west Nagorno-Karabakh. Soldiers from Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia guard a 240km border which divides the internationally-unrecognized Repupublic of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan. Ongoing peace negotiations between the two sides are currently frozen.

A frontline soldier of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh poses in front an arms' cabinet at a military post in the region of Martuni, south-west Nagorno-Karabakh. Soldiers from Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia guard a 240km border which divides the internationally-unrecognized Repupublic of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan. Ongoing peace negotiations between the two sides are currently frozen.

All images © Marcos Andronicou

Each week, Feature Shoot editors showcase the work of one photographer who has applied to the Emerging Photography Awards in order to highlight the diverse array of applications we receive. This is not an endorsement of the photographer for the award.

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