Public displays of affection are a no-go in Azerbaijan. In this largely Muslim yet secular country, tradition dictates social norms and young couples are frowned upon if spotted cuddling and kissing. Neighbors, relatives, acquaintances, schoolmates or co-workers feel entitled to judge. The unwritten law on public displays of affection means that there is a time and space where a young couple can engage with each other. That time is after marriage, that space is in private.
Photographer Ehtiram Jabi aimed to capture how love -- or its absence -- nonetheless shapes perceptions of public spaces in Baku, the Azerbaijani capital.
Jabi, a native of Baku, turned his ironic eye toward those spaces where couples seek privacy for their love affairs. Boys and girls, young men and women move cautiously in these locations; places where they can escape judgment and the public eye as they explore the physicality of love.