in collaboration with Meline Gharibyan
Found Imagery & Digital Collage
“The names of extinct countries and their trajectories are littered through human history. The consequences of state collapse on a personal level is a subject seldom reflected upon, especially in reference to the Soviet Union, which focused more on collective identity, rather than that of the individual. Our work aims to capture the undocumented personhood, and the individual histories, of those living in the last years of the Armenian S.S.R. tracking down close to all photo studios within the borders of Yerevan, the capital city of the Armenian S.S.R. These studios hold the last documented ties between the individual and the state, many of which remain unmentioned within the larger history of the Soviet state collapse. Along with these found and orphaned images they have been collaged with Armenian ornamental designs from the medieval era to bring back their Armenian identities the Soviet Union often censored and silenced. This work is a collection of untold stories.”
Photokombinat is an ongoing project with photographer Meline Gharibyan, who found orphaned images of unknown people whilst on a trip to her home country of Armenia. Along with examples of Armenian ornamental design, I collaged together parts of these decorations with the photographs to highlight Armenia’s beautiful, albeit arduous, history.