Database of Armenian photo-media practioners

Arshak Hajibabi Mndjoyan

1889 - 1961

1910 - 1930s

The senior member of Mndjoyan dynasty of photographers, Arshak Mndjoyan, was one of the more prominent studio owners in Tiflis between 1920s-40s. After moving to Georgia from Eastern Armenia in 1912, Arshak began apprenticing with Samuel Minchik – a famed local photographer from the pre-revolutionary era. Not long after, he established his own photography business on Erivanian (currently Pushkinskaya) street in Tbilisi’s center. In 1921, Bolshevik authorities accused the photographer of speculation, and after seizing his property, they deported Mndjoyan to Russia. Returning to Tbilisi in 1925, he resumed his work at a new pavilion on Leselidze Street, which was later relocated to Pervomayskaya Street. Arshak's brother Andrey also worked as a professional photographer in another studio, which specialised in children’s portraiture.(1)

Arshak Mndjoyan's studio photographs allow us to observe the transformation of commercial photography in the Caucasus from the reform years of NEP (New Economic Policy) to the early 1960s. These portraits reflect Tiflis’ difficult transition from bourgeois, cosmopolitan lifestyle to the rhetoric of communism enforced by the Soviet state. In Mndjoyan’s pavilion, customers could still wear their more luxurious outfits and pieces of jewellery left over from the pre-Soviet days, through which they could still indicate some elements of personal taste and earlier class origins. 

Mndjoyan’s studio was also frequented by patrons looking to commission ‘professional’ portraits - especially theatre, cinema and sports figures. While these photographs did not differ significantly in style from the production of other local studios, Mndjoyan always provided a very high professional level for all his visitors, an aspect that made his atelier one of the more continuously popular pavilions in Tbilisi.

The photography business continued to be run by Arshak’s son Gevorg, and later by his grandson Arshak, long after its founder had passed away.

1) Yekaterina Mikiridze, ‘“Tifliskoe” Fotoatelier i “Lyubov bez Granits”’ [‘“ Tiflissian Photo-Studio and “Love without Boundaries”’, in Russian], (viewed` 20.10.2017)




USSR, Georgia, Georgian SSR


Tiflis, Tbilisi




analogue photography


Kochar, Vahan. Hay Lusankarichner [Armenian Photographers, in Armenian], self-published, Yerevan, 2007, p.253

Mikiridze, Yekaterina. ‘“Tifliskoe” Fotoatelier i “Lyubov bez Granits”’ [‘“ Tiflissian Photo-Studio and “Love without Boundaries”’, in Russian],


Lusadaran Armenian Photography Foundation, Yerevan; National library of Georgia, Tbilisi

Other images by this author