It is the seventh year that I’m busy with Photo Documentary Projects which are about the problems of the inhabitants at old districts ofYerevanwhich are being wrecked down.
Since 2001 by the decision of the Government of theRepublicofArmenia, constructional projects started at the very centre ofYerevan. As a result of which, old districts were being wrecked, where some of the houses were considered to be historical monuments of architecture. According to the law they were to be dismantled and moved to other places for reassembling them. Unfortunately many of them were just pulled down by the help of heavy machinery and as a result reassembling was impossible.
Yerevanis considered to be one of the oldest cities of the world (2796 years old). Actually, few historical monuments are preserved. These old districts having history of 150 years were the last witnesses of oldYerevanand by destroying them we have not many evidences proving its old past.
The second problem which I started to study was investigating the violation of property rights of the inhabitants of those districts. They started protesting against the authorities. In many cases they were not recognized as property owners and for that reason they were not compensated and many others who were recognized as property owners received very low compensations. Not a single case among hundreds of judicial acts was decided in the interest of an inhabitant’s claim. There were cases where the inhabitants were excluded by force from their paternal houses which were pulled down before their eyes. For most of them this was a heavy blow and even there was registered a case of death.
The reconstruction process of the central part of Yerevan created many problems and it is continued up to now and several districts are also waiting for their turn.
While photographing for my project I have organized different NGO-s, open air photo exhibitions and protest actions, It was held for the purpose of inviting society’s attention to the problem.
At the moment I’m still taking many photos for my projects. Now many archival photos are accumulated and I’m trying to edit and to archive them in order to create photo-films. At the same time I use my audio-interviews which were done while taking the photos. Now I have created three similar films “Alienation”, “No Man, No Problem”, ”Disappearing memories”. For the future I want to use many photos of family archives which I have found at the abandoned houses. They are from the years starting 1930-s.
Today I have already archived stories about 40 houses approximately of which some of them are being continued to be photographed, and some of them I have finished and I’m trying to edit them and make photo stories.
I’m so eager to finish them by the help of your experienced specialists. I’m also eager to get acquainted with the world-wide experience for the ways of making useful the efforts of photographers for defending human rights. I also want to know how such projects can be accessible to the communities and to be helpful for them.