Documentary photography project by Nazik Armenakyan
2005-2015. Ten years in the making, ‘Survivors’ is a photographic narrative about surviving victims of the Armenian genocide, which includes portraits, interior scenes, witness testimonies and archival photographs. The project shows the significance of photography in forging an understanding of 1915 and its impact on individual identities.
The project began as a single portrait assignment while I was completing a photo-documentary course at the Caucasus Media Institute in 2005. But the overwhelming reaction to that first photograph - Remella Amlikyan’s portrait – encouraged me to develop this project further. It was important for me to show that these people... were not immortal, even if they had lived a hundred years and still continued to live because they have a message. I understood that having kept their message silent for all these years, they were waiting for something. They attempt the complex task of bridging the events of 1915 to our own reality through the figure of the survivor. ‘How else could you show the Catastrophe’, asks Marc Nichanian in his introduction to the Survivors book:
"... except to show the picture as a relic and to turn each face into its own image, thus transforming it into the face of a real survivor, rather than the face of just anybody, a random portrait? Of course, it is possible to show many things... even the endless terror can be captured... But that is not the way in which the Catastrophe will ever appear. That is not how it will be captured. Unless the picture shows the image as a relic... The survivor is the witness who has forever been transformed into the image of herself."