BY SARKIS MAHSEREJIAN
Translated from Armenian by R. Guevjelian
Whenever I visit an old friend of mine, who has the qualifications of a Santa Claus, he usually picks up a newly published book from a drawer and insists that I accept it as a gift. I am not the only recipient of his generosity, as my friend is a sworn member of a dwindling group of book lovers who not only buy books, but acquire a couple of them and gift them to their friends.
When I visited him last, he took a newly-published photography book out of his cache, from the cover of which a half-hidden Mount Ararat smiled at me, with the title “Armenia Through My Lens – A Photographer’s Travels,” by a young man named Sevag Mehterian.
I accepted this gift with thanks and, upon returning home, I started going through it, assuming that a new individual has joined the ranks of all those young men who have visited Armenia during the last decades and discovered their homeland. With his camera, Sevag has added a new illustrated book to the list of similar volumes, which I should say, is an encouraging aspect in itself.
At a first glance, I naturally tried to reinforce my predisposition, but as I went forward, the title of the volume started to make sense. Here is a young man, who looks at his homeland through his lens, from Armenia all the way to Artsakh and its surroundings. He hasn’t limited his photography to traditional methods, but, like some rare ones, he has preferred to view his homeland and its various treasures from above.
Camera in hand, he has directed his lens from Erevan to Erebuni, has “flown” over Tsitsernakaberd, Lake Sevan, numerous monasteries and historic landmarks, has reached Lori and Syunik-Zangezur, has perched near his “preys” to capture Oshagan’s carved stone Armenian Alphabet, as well as Echmiadzin and Datev. He’s even reached Artsakh, to photograph from air or on land, Stepanakert, Shushi, Gandzasar, “We are our Mountains” monument and other spectacular holy sites. From time to time, with the help of his electronic device, he has “played” with some of his pictures, for example presenting the reflection of a picture on the frame’s second half, showing that with such tricks a photograph’s handicraft can reach art’s threshold.
The tome doesn’t have a preface. Short, one-line explanations accompany the photographs. Sevag has clearly preferred that his pictures speak for themselves.
At the end of the book, there is a short summary about the author. Sevag Mehterian studied Marine Geology at University of California, Berkeley and got his PhD in Geochemistry and Climate Science from the University of Miami. Sevag likes to watch nature’s beauty and presents it through his lens. He doesn’t call himself an art photographer. Instead, he is a silent, yet loquacious, bridge between nature and viewer.
As a point worthy of appreciation, Sevag has taken his lens to Armenia and Artsakh—nowhere else. He has an unwavering connection to his homeland and he wants to impart that, as well as his love for Armenia, to his viewers. If we look closely, we will find that Sevag’s values are rooted in the environment he was raised in, his love for Armenia stems from his home.
Find more of Sevag’s work online.