Walking and Shooting the Streets of Yerevan
Anna is walking down the street. The autumn leaves are crisping under her feet. With every step she takes, a little breeze shakes the pile of leaves moving them from side to side. And there she stops at the verge of the trail, puts her feet next to each other, and captures the view with her phone. Soon, she will share this picture with her followers. Thousands of people will witness the Armenian autumn; hundreds will recognize the familiar streets; tens will thank her for regularly sharing such simple, yet captivating and delightful shots from the streets of the city where they grew up, the streets of Yerevan.
Anna, a Yerevantsi, confesses to loving every corner of her city. “I heart each and every street of Yerevan full of vibrant summer mood, intense autumn colors, winter emptiness and blooming spring,” says Anna. She never misses a chance to shoot a statue known to everyone who has visited Yerevan, or a store that has a unique and attention-catching design. With the help of her camera, Anna has turned every minute detail of Yerevan such as the sometimes unnoticeable clotheslines of the city’s buildings, a significant ornament of the city. In the framework of her project, she captures the everyday life of Yerevan and publishes it on social media. Currently, the page has more than
7200 followers on Instagram and 11000 on Facebook.
Anna prefers to stay invisible, though. She does not like to publicize her own photos or to share information about her life. But she also admits that her favorite activities are walking and photography, which combined together, have given birth and are continuously nurturing the project of the Streets of Yerevan. Anna has also founded other projects which are based on her hobbies – traveling, walking, and taking pictures, too.
But Anna’s dedication to the Streets of Yerevan project is genuine and unique. When she had just begun managing the project, she noticed the success in a quite short time period. Later, Anna determined to reach a target group for her photos–travelers from different parts of the world. “I wanted any overseas traveler to Yerevan to see the best of it, hidden corners and beauty of our sunny capital,” says Anna. Noting the rapidly growing number of likes and followers on social media, Anna started to aim at a more substantial outreach. With every published post on a social media platform, she uses hashtags such as #Yerevan and #StreetsofYerevan to give more people the chance of exploring the beauty of Yerevan even from the farthest parts of the world.
After three years of hard work, she has achieved her goal. Today, the page of Streets of Yerevan has become a platform of quite diverse followers, including people from Greece, South Africa, Hong Kong, Poland, India, Brazil, Honduras, and many other countries. With every post she shares, she receives very thankful messages and warm feedback from her followers. One of her followers, Ariane, says, “I’ve been virtually touring Yerevan thanks to Anna and her street photography.”
Some Armenian and international celebrities also follow the Streets of Yerevan, among them, are journalist Grigor Atanesyan, blogger Sona Gasparyan, and singer Aram mp3. One of the significant achievements of the project is that John Stanmeyer, a world-renowned photographer, also follows Anna’s project and regularly looks through the photos of Yerevan. In fact, it is quite astonishing how today technologies can help users turn their hobbies into real projects with a worldwide outreach; and the Streets of Yerevan is a vivid example of this tendency.
People from all around the world can experience the life of a Yerevantsi through Anna’s camera. Anna herself is a typical Yerevantsi, and she confesses that although she loves traveling and discovering new spots all over the world, Yerevan is always her favorite one. She says that she is in a continuous search of new corners in Yerevan that only a few people know about. But her project does not evolve just around finding new places because the project is not only about sites but rather about the original ways of seeing these places. Anna tries to capture things from a different angle, one that no one else ever noticed. For instance, Anna confesses that her favorite photo is a close-up shot of the Mother Armenia statue. “Ever since I started the project I see her more and more often from many spots,” says Anna. “I love this photo because it was the first ever time I saw the statue so close-up and was amazed at its beauty.”
Anna is in a constant conversation with the streets of Yerevan; she never stops admiring their beauty. However, she manages to acknowledge the beauty of Yerevantsis as well. “I met so many cool Yerevantsis and people in love with Yerevan during these three years of curating Streets of Yerevan project,” says Anna. She adds that she has already started publishing posts featuring people of Yerevan, which will make the streets of Yerevan even livelier and more dynamic.
… The leaves continue to crisp under her feet. Anna moves the direction of her phone; now she holds it up toward the sky. She captures the heavy, cloudy sky through already naked branches of a tall tree. The sky seems different; it acquires Armenian-ness along all other photos that Anna has shot. Showing the eternal beauty of our city, Anna’s photos will always stay in the memories of her followers as an irreplaceable way of exploring Yerevan from a totally different, a more colorful and loving perspective.
Submitted by Ani Matevosyan