1940 - 1970s
Volodya Amalyan has made a considerable contribution to the development of professional photojournalism in Armenia. He progressed in this area, from the early 1950s, when his documentary photograhs periodically began to appear in the Soviet Armenian press. In 1960, Amalyan was appointed the Head of the photo-chronicle department of the Armenian Telegraphic Agency, which allowed him to include some of the best local photographers in the first professional photographic team in Armenia. (1) The photo-chronicle department was a centralized system that supplied the photographic requirements of local periodicals. In that sense, the members of the agency were usually deprived of the opportunity to work on their own, independent projects, which led to an inevitable homogeneity of Telegraphic Agency's output. However, it was also a unique training ground for many, where the generation of younger photographers could learn from their elders.
It could be said that Amalyan's own photographic practice, indicated the principles on which the future development of Armenian photojournalism would be based on. His documentary images are fully staged and are free from any accidental details or notions of subjectivity. All of the picture’s elements are made to serve the pre-determined, propagandistic goals of the news material. In this regard, Amalyan's photo-collages are particularly interesting. Appropriating devices from the arsenal of 1920s-30s Russian photographic avant-garde, they create a totalizing visual embodiment of the Communist party’s ideological agenda.
Although this schematic approach led to a lifeless monumentality of the image and an obvious disingenuousness, Amalyan's works are also able to disguise the ephemeral temporality that is inherent in news photography. With their multi-plan, densely detailed structures, these images present their subjects with such grandiosity that an episodic slice of the everyday acquires an almost literary weight and depth.
After the 1960s, Amalyan's name and photographs no longer appear in the local press, which indicates that he had retired from active photographic practice by this time.
1) Nora Melikyan and Hrayr Zoryan, Armenpress 90։1918-2008, Historical-documentary survey of Armenian state new agency's trajectory [in Armenian], Armenpress, Yerevan, 2010
USSR, Armenia, ArmSSR
documentary, photo correspondent, photojournalist
Amalyan, Volodya. 'Geroika Trudovykh Svershenniy' [in Russian], Sovetskoe Foto, no.5, 1961
Nora Melikyan and Hrayr Zoryan, Armenpress 90։1918-2008, Historical-documentary survey of Armenian state new agency's trajectory [in Armenian], Armenpress, Yerevan, 2010