Armenians in Black and White | Hratch Tchilingirian
Hratch Arbach hangs the black cloth on the wall like a question mark. The photographer is in search of answers.
The black backdrop strips any association with a particular location or territory and opens a blank page before the camera. He "erases" the locality of the person sitting in front of the camera and allows their face to tell a story in the background of the black infinity.
All faces have common features of an "Armenian soul", but are very different. Is it their past that they are projecting? Is it their future that they are imagining? Is it just a fleeting, posed moment in the present? The inexpensive black cloth temporarily hanging in the background is the connection that links expensive faces together for perpetuity. It's not the material value that matters, but the intention, the quest itself. It connects strangers, acquaintances, friends, families with their self-defined "Armenianness", which has millions of paths in life.
Hratch Arbach looks for answers through his lens, as if peeping through a keyhole to get a glimpse of the soul of his subject, as if in timelessness and spacelessness. Armenian faces dispersed around the world become a "nation" between Hratch Arbach's lens and the black infinity he creates.
He tries to connect them as if weaving a new narrative, as if interlacing unknown Armenian faces that ascertain faith in life.
Hratch Arbach looks through his camera as if through a microscope searching for that perfect moment in which an entire life, an entire nation comes to life with all its perfections and imperfection
1 February 2014