Photographic Art in Yerevan (late 19th-mid 20th century)


Photography is one of the greatest inventions of the 19th century, and it has become a new branch of art. A branch where Armenian photographers, too, have had their serious and weighty contribution, who have been awarded international prizes for their valuable works of art – gold and silver medals. One of them was Gegham Tariverdyants, a native Yerevan citizen, who was a gold medal winner of the exhibitions in Rotterdam (1909) and Rome (1910).

The history of photography in Yerevan goes back to the pre-Soviet period and is connected with the names of several well-known masters – Tariverdyants, Dadyants, Peshtlmajyan, Rubinyants, Kyurkchyants, Donkov, Melik-Aghamalyan, Ter-Aristakesyan, who became the founders of contemporary photography. A new generation of repatriate photographers came to replace them afterwards. Being settled in the Motherland, they continued their work of a photographer completing the traditions of Yerevan photography with all modern achievements of foreign photography.

Gabriel Khanoyan, Samvel Khandikyan, Shant Ter-Arakelyan, Gurgen Misakyan, Torgom Boyajyan, K. Sevantsyans, Nemrut Baghdasaryan, Pargev Cholakyan, Arshavir Poghosyan, Andranik Kochar and some other photographers were brilliant masters of their work. For the activities of the photographers of this period the photo club “Yerevan” founded by A. Kochar and opened in his apartment in 1962 was particularly important.

Here photographic “secrets” were exchanged and news in photography was discussed. The collections of the works of the club were demonstrated in Armenia, the Soviet Union and international exhibitions and were awarded high rewards and prizes.

The role of Armenian and particularly Yerevan photographers is really great in recording and eternalizing our historic memories. Their rich inheritance in photography today has become  a unique specimen thanks to which we can represent picturesquely old and new Yerevan in its whole charm, with its historical-cultural monuments, its famous scientists, literature and art workers and citizens of old Yerevan.

Ani Mejlumyan
Senior Scientific Worker of the New History Department
of the Museum of History of Yerevan