When Maretta Ayvazyan and I went out to the historic center of Gyumri to take pictures of the interesting locals, we were a bit nervous because we were not sure how they would react. We knew how hospitable and warm Armenians can be, but we also knew that they’re not used to publicity, journalists, and being on camera. When we approached our first target, the older man wearing a fedora hat, who looked like a movie star on a smoke break, we were surprised at how quickly and easily he agreed to pose for the photo. As if he is asked to do it every day. Not everyone was like this, some were not in a good mood, some revealed underlining societal problems, one woman said her husband wouldn’t like her to pose for a picture (that was upsetting to hear), but another lady invited us to her house to have a coffee. That was very moving, and the whole experience was very interesting.
United States, 2020