I am looking at the photos of me that have been tagged on Instagram, considering myself as an object of vision. In a book called Citizen by Claudia Rankine, she recites Judith Butler’s answer to the question of what makes language harmful. As she tells it, Butler responds, “Our very being exposes us to the address of another. We suffer from the condition of being addressable.” Photography, which is so similar to language in its capacity of decomposition or diversion, acts in the same manner; as we usually talk about what a photograph “describes,” not what it “depicts.” Instagram is offering us the illusion that you are able to describe yourself and the life around you. It’s a statement that succinctly sums up our permanent need to capture and frame our life experiences for other people to see and of course, for ourselves.
Unlike Kiev, where the 2014 revolution boosted the development of various underground raves and art movements, Yerevan’s underground culture emerged from a lifelong need to build an identity that defines the current generation of young Armenian artists and creatives. Here a few techno lovers and open-minded artists decided to come together in a country that is probably one of the most conservative in the region, to create a number of spaces of freedom for themselves. Being such a small city, Yerevan can often be quite hit-or-miss, however, there are some creative people who happen to be a little more talented at immortalising those fleeting moments of everyday Yerevan with style and aesthetic value.
If you’re not one of Hakob’s followers, you need to jump on the bandwagon pronto. Known for his black and white portrait photography, and use of lighting to create otherworldly images, he uses photography as a method of researching people and the different personalities he meets around Yerevan.
If you are fascinated by graphic design, the tropical charms of Yerevan’s underground scene, dramatic interior formations, as well as brutalist architecture, ancient carpets, and nightlife, follow Sereg; a designer/photographer from Yerevan, and say “hi” to some serious photography inspiration.
Maria captures the blurry line between darkness and innocence, desire and humbleness. Her subjects, mostly friends or absolute strangers, inhabit decadent interiors hidden from the outside world. Capturing intimate atmospheres on her iPhone, the young photographer casts a curious eye on Yerevan’s raving youth. Keen to preserve the wildness of youth in photographic form, Maria depicts a hedonistic world filled with unhinged sexuality, versatile limbs and playful obscenity.
David’s Instagram feed offers a window into the distant place, away from the clichés, with an abstract style and supernatural overtones. Using some of the visual tropes that have defined Instagram, a combination of soft textures and immersive portraiture, his Instagram feed is often full of inspirational, insightful and really rather beautiful imagery of Yerevan and its inhabitants.
Tata’s gorgeous photography is a tender, pastel-tinged perspective of womanhood in Yerevan, proposing a softer visual language to navigate femininity in the Middle East. Fleeting between Yerevan, Tbilisi and Moscow, she snaps the world through a dreamy lens and portrays imagery infused with 90’s teen movie nostalgia. A dreamy feed of saucy architectural forms and cute artful pieces, makes you fall in love with Tata’s passion for plantcore and intricate detailing.