Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Talking of Minorities

Yezidi, Armenia
© Andrei Liankevich

Last month, the
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted a funding proposal that included support for the Photostory section of the Hetq Online web site. Unfortunately, because of the recent hacking attack, the site is down but that's only temporary. Anyway, the point is that after establishing and maintaining the section for over a year on a shoestring budget -- in fact, without one at all -- we now have the ability to commission and publish work from up and coming young photographers working on Armenian themes.

In the past few days, therefore, I've been scouring the internet and talking to as many people as I can to find out where this new breed of young photographers are. Unfortunately, as with almost everything in Armenia, there are few people who want to cooperate with others and allow them to take the limelight. Of course, key to this regrettable situation is money. Everybody wants it for themselves and certainly don't want it shared around.

Yezidi, Armenia © Andrei Liankevich

Thanks to a young Armenian now in Holland, however, the search is going well. Forever Child pointed me in the direction of a young female photographer in Armenia, Ani (Apples), who I met up with on Monday. Hetq has now commissioned her to shoot new work on the Molokan community in Armenia and also, one on gender issues. There has also been some impressive work from two non-Armenian photographers who until recently were resident in Armenia.

Andrei Liankevich is from Belarus and as part of his Caucasus Media Institute / World Press Photo project, concentrated on the Yezidi minority in Armenia. He sent me some of his work yesterday and it's truly fantastic. Hetq hopes to bring that to you all soon. A friend of Andrei's and also Ani's is Dominichka, a Pole who until last week lived and worked in Armenia. Although we're still discussing story ideas, I'm hoping that she'll consider submitting something on the small Polish community in Yerevan.

There's more but I'll leave that for another time. Meanwhile, life just got interesting again...

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