Between 1915 and 1917, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians died at the hands of Ottoman Empire forces. Yerevan has a memorial to the “Armenian Genocide”, but Turkey claims the dead were victims of World War I.
Armenia – Photo Tip

Find the scene and wait for the shot

Photo by Luis Dafos

Armenia – Photo Tip Find the scene and wait for the shot

Photographing landmarks such as these in Armenia is a specialty in which the travel photographer should stand out.

Luis Dafos
Luis Dafos Travel Photographer

Including people in the frame helps bring a sense of scale and significance to the scene. But when the meaning of a place is so deeply rooted in a people’s national psyche, as are the Mother Armenia Monument and the Armenian Genocide Memorial, the way in which they are depicted must be attuned to the gravity of the place. The photographer must be extremely respectful.

I returned several times to the genocide memorial, seeking an element that would add drama to the image. Some dark clouds, a silent crowd... but the light was too bright and visitors too scarce. Just before dusk, the harsh shadows dissolved into an even, soft light with a sort of melancholy to it, but I was still missing that special element.

Then a father and his son walked in, and stayed still and silent. I made some test shots, knowing that the image was yet to come. The father stepped forward and knelt to pick up some flowers that had fallen next to the flame. I noticed how the child stood still, looking ahead with a solemn air.

I knew I had found my image.

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The 7th century St Gayane Church at Echmiadzin is one of many Unesco World Heritage Sites in Armenia associated with its religious history. In AD 301, Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its state religion. Photo by Luis Dafos

Luis Dafos

Luis Dafos

The 7th century St Gayane Church at Echmiadzin is one of many Unesco World Heritage Sites in Armenia associated with its religious history. In AD 301, Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its state religion.

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