Database of Armenian photo-media practioners

Senekerim A. Lalayants

1890 - 1910s

The Alexandrapol (currently Gyumri)-based Senekerim Lalayants, was, most probably, the brother of Artashes Lalayan, who had a photographic studio in the neighboring Kars. Senekerim’s pavilion, located at 22 Catholic Street may have initially served as the branch of the studio in Kars before turning into an independent enterprise in the late 1890's.

Lalayants’ studio was frequented by all casts and classes of the city - from wealthy families to petty traders and craftsmen. Decorated with sundry and varied accessories, where European, classically-themed painted backdrops and imperial style furniture were mixed with Armenian carpets and household items, the pavilion vividly characterized Gyumri’s socio-cultural context at the beginning of the 20th century. Lalayants’ group portraits are particularly inspired with their relaxed poses, colorful costumes and the comfortable familiarity with which the subjects are staged in front of the camera. These unusually frank studio images provide direct insights into the intimate as well as publicly administered dynamics between family groups and circles of friends. It is worth noting that many of these portraits have a ceremonious quality and often represent groups of men assembled around a feast staged in the studio. Such memorialisation of friendships or simply of ‘good times’, indicates that at the turn of the 20th century photography was already used in Armenia as an important and personalised means for constructing intimate historiographies. 


Judging from Lalayants’ surviving works, his business operated at least until the early 1910s. 





Armenia, Russian Empire


Alexandrapol (Gyumri(


S. Lalayants




analogue photography


Museum of Folk Architecture and Urban Life, Gyumri; History Museum of Armenia, Yerevan