Armenia is a land of traditional values, traditional expressions and traditional ideas of romance. The Armenian idea of love often involves the typical cliches of husband and wife, mother and child, marriage and family. But love takes many forms and often love is something that lies between the traditional definitions of Armenian society.
For CEN’s first photo feature we wanted to explore the idea of love in Armenia; of what it really meant and of how Armenians commonly express it. We invited Armenian photographer Tatevik Vardanyan to share her work on a subject that is close to all of our hearts. Here is what she found:
The traditional family unit is something highly valued in Armenia. Mother and father, daughter and son is normally seen as the Armenian ideal. Families live through the best and worst of each others lives and often they still remain close after all of it is over. In this photo a husband and wife look after two sisters in one of Yerevan’s most popular family destinations.
The bond between child and parent is often strong, but the bond between child and grandparent can be just as strong. Children share a special relationship with their grandfathers, who in traditional Armenian family are often seen as the head of family.
Love does not just mean romance. Love (especially in marriage) is often a form of shared commitment and dedication. Couples in Armenia rely on each other for everything, even income and food. Here a committed couple share a moment of intimacy after sharing a day of work.
Armenians are always keen to express their love, especially when it comes to young couples. Gifts of love are incredibly common among Armenia’s young romantics. From chocolates and candies to stuffed animals to the more traditional flowers to these cheap plastic icons of love; love in Armenia takes many forms.
In traditional Armenian family everything is passed down through the generations. From values and beliefs to property and possessions. In this case we see a story passed from one generation to another.
No discussion of Armenia would be complete without at least one mention of lavash. Every couple, no matter what age, shares. They share a home, a family, a lifestyle, they share food – in this example they even share a chair.
Tatev Vardanyan is a photographer living and working in Armenia, she is also a photography workshop leader at the Tumo Centre for Creative Technologies. She chose photography as her first profession after studying a degree in applied mathematics and computer science at university. Her style of photography mainly focuses on street photography and documentary. You can find more about her work on her website.
Words by Tom Ana