Database of Armenian photo-media practioners

Harry Koundakjian

1930 - 2014

1950 - 2010s

Harry Koundakjian has documented the flow of history in the Middle East for over half a century. Having begun his career at the age of 22 in Beirut, Koundakjian quickly became enmeshed in various political, military, social and even cultural upheavals that have shaped and scarred the region during numerous conflicts. A member of the Associated Press since 1966, the photographer has covered key historical milestones such as the civil war in Beirut, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Munich Olympics, the Iranian Revolution and so forth.(1)

The alias of ‘Harry the Horse’ with which he was nicknamed by his colleagues, gives some indication about Koundakjian’s approach to fast-track photojournalism. The lightning-speed with which he appeared at every hot-spot in Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iran, Turkey and even Bangladesh, ensured that the readers of Life, New York Times and Washington Press - along with other press outlets - often formed an immediate idea about the cataclysmic events in these countries through his lens. Marked by this visceral sharpness and breathtaking ‘currency’ of the news, Koundakjian’s frontline reportage, however, remains profoundly humanist in its outlook as evidenced by photographs such as The Piano Man. More direct and subtle than the often lurid images produced by American photojournalism of the 1970s and 80s, Koundakjian’s images reject sensationalist iconography in their commitment to objectivity and awareness of photographic ethics. This ability to record tumultuous events while keeping an unshakable focus on the suffering of individuals and communities affected by calamity is what makes his photography so sobering and relevant long after these events have passed. 

The photographer was closely involved in the life of the Armenian community in Beirut and, after moving to New York in 1979, became an important chronicler of diasporan affairs in the USA. In this regard, a number of Koundakjian's reportages have today become an important visual archive chronicling the continuing efforts towards the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.(2)

1) ‘Veteran Photojournalist Harry Koundakjian Passes Away’, May 13, 2014,,

2) One of Koundakjian’s last reportages documented the commemoration of the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in New York. See




USA, Lebanon


Alepo (b.), Beirut, New York


documentary, photo correspondent, photojournalist


analogue photography


Vartanian, Hrag. 'Koundakjian's Beirut Retrospective', May 10, 2007,


2007: Solo show, Beirut