Database of Armenian photo-media practioners

Areg Balayan

born 1980

2000 - 2010s

Following the success of his 2016 documentary series MOB, Areg Balayan has emerged as one of the more distinctive voices in the arena of Armenian documentary photography. Balayan’s intensely intimate and sensual portrayal of conscript life in a remote army unit during the four-day war that reignited between Azerbaijan and Armenia in April 2016, was received with widespread acclaim, winning the Aurora Prize for Humanitarian Photography and a second place of the LensCulture Exposure Awards in 2017. (1)

Prior to starting out as a freelance commercial and news photographer in 2005, Balayan received his initial education in the graphic artsat the Igityan Art Institute- an aspect of his career that echoes in the painterly sensibilities of his documentary work. These aesthetic associations are often drawn from the classical tradition of Western art, with their attendant notions of humanism, spiritual enlightenment and the redemptive power of art. 

Working for the PAN photo news agency as well as executing various commissions for the UN, UNIDO, YMCA, Armenia Fund and the Shoah Foundation, Balayan frequently deals with various military or civic conflicts in his country. Yet, what draws the photographer’s attention are the more complex, moral and universal issues regarding the condition of humanity, which underline any political or social strife. It is by revealing these unacknowledged and painful questions that Balayan attempts to go beyond the surface facts and generate a space for empathy and dialogue.

Committed in his belief of art’s vital social mission, Balayan’s images stand firmly on the traditions of humanist photography by documentarians such as Robert Cappa, Berenice Abbott, Cartier-Bresson and others. Yet, his is a vision that is full of expressive force and poetic revelation, in which photography doesn’t so much ‘reflect’ reality, but exhumes its unconscious and unseen fibres.

1) For biographical details see the photographer's personal website 





Artsakh, Armenia


Yerevan, Stepanakert


artistic, documentary, photo correspondent


digital photography


2016: MOB, Mirzoyan Library, Yerevan, October 31-February 15, 2017

Other images by this author