LOS ANGELES–Chilling black and white photos of Armenian Genocide survivors–by Ara Oshagan and Levon Parian–and oral histories collected by The Genocide Project–will be features in the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine on May 23.
Extending over four pages–the photo essay will feature seven survivors and their histories–with an introduction by Janet Kinosian.
Combining close-up portraits of survivors set against a black background with images of their hands–Oshagan–a free-lance photojournalist and Parian–a veteran photographer of 20 years create symbolic and narrative links to the Genocide.
"The Times editors were drawn toward our double portraits of faces and hands," said Oshagan.
"We place the survivors against black–represent the abyss of the Genocide–and the light upon their face its the light of survival. They are witnesses–so the focus is on their eyes. The juxtaposition of faces and hands further expands the narrative and is symbolic of the discontinuity that the Genocide has caused in their lives," added Oshagan.
With a circulation of more than 1,300,000 copies–the Sunday LA Times is the second most widely circulated daily newspaper in the country–trailing closely behind the Sunday New York Times.
"This articles is a great opportunity to expose the Armenian Genocide to a very very wide and influential audience," said Kinosian–a long-time free-lance writer for the Times who has written many articles for the Magazine in the past and whose writings are syndicated by the LA Times.
Her resume also boasts contributions to the New York Times. the Washington Post–Saturday Evening Post–Modern Maturity–Vogue and Elle magazines.
"This is a great coup for the Armenian community and a significant step toward a wider acceptance of the facts of the Genocide," continued Kinosian–whose familiarity and persistence were instrumental in the photo essay’s acceptance by the Magazine.
"Our time has come. We are the third generation and it is up to us to open up the discourse around the Genocide and build on the momentum we have created," added Kinosian.
Parian urged all Armenia’s to pick up this special issue of the LA Times and not hesitate in expressing their views to the Magazine editor Alice Short or photo editor Patrick Downs.
"The Magazine is likely to get negative backlash from deniers of the Genocide and we must counter that with overwhelming support and encourage similar pieces in the future," stressed Paryan.
The Los Angeles Times Magazine may be reached at (213) 237-7811.
Oshagan and Paryan have been taking portraits of Genocide survivors for The Genocide Project since 1996–while other Project members have been interviewing–collecting audio and video recordings of survivor eyewitness accounts.
The project plans to publish a book of these portraits and accounts–and organize a major traveling exhibit to tour the country. Donald and Lorna Miller have also assisted the project.