In 1991, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, sought independence. International legitimacy was not granted, and most of the region is ruled by the Nagorno-Karabakh republic, an unrecognised, de facto independent state within Azerbaijan. An independence declaration immediately led to the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan – which ended in 1994 and resulted in 30,000 deaths and the displacement of more than 700,000 people. After peace talks the two nations signed a cease-fire, leaving Nagorno-Karabakh in a judicial limbo.
Although it doesn’t exist de jure, Nagorno-Karabakh is a community of 140,000 people that are more concerned with surviving than the legal recognition of their state. This series was an attempt to document life in a ‘non-existent’ country and how the Karabaki, despite the consequences of war and poverty, still live with dignity.