Database of Armenian photo-media practioners

Pavel (Pahlavuni) Nazaryan

died 2016

1980 - 2000s

Pavel Nazaryan's black and white photographs made in the vein of ‘documentary art’ photography were regularly published on the pages of Garun (Spring) and Hayastani Ashkhatavoruhi (Armenian Woman Worker) magazines during the 1970s-80s. Nazaryan was a camera operator by profession and after graduating from university worked on a number of documentary, animation and fiction films at the Armenfilm and Lenfilm studios. His photographic practice evolved in tandem with his work in cinema, often taking place in and around film sets. 

Though thematically diverse, Nazaryan's works show the photographer’s proclivity towards the study of inner, psychological states. His photographs are intimate compositions where time seems to have paused for the camera and actions are often missing. The artist’s subjects are, nevertheless, contemporary and are viewed in a temporally and geographically specific framework which usually pertains to the inhabitants of cities and their everyday life. In these seemingly commonplace fragments, the delicate and softly graded lighting creates a sense of taut poetry that is devoid of melodrama and sentimentality. Particularly striking is the photographer’s use of empty, dark space under which his subjects become imbued with enigmatic dramatism. In general, this photographer’s ruminations about the passage of time and loss of innocence reflect the alienating and self-referential tendencies of the late-modernist Soviet art that also characterise Nazaryan’s cinematographic work in films such as ‘Khrustalev, My Car!’ (1994) and ‘Symphony of Silence’ (2001).

Nazaryan also created an extensive series devoted to street life that stands closer to the traditions of classical, humanist photography. Examining the gradually disappearing features of the old Yerevan, the series is masterfully permeated with a mood of melancholic contemplation.






USSR, Armenia, ArmSSR




artistic, documentary


analogue photography

Other images by this author