Armenia · International · photography

Portrait Series: Armen

Armen Aleqsanyan, a Proud Gyumri native, showed me the true meaning of Armenian hospitality. We were put in touch through a mutual friend from Yerevan. He was coming to Yerevan and I wanted to spend a few hours with him and do a photo shoot around the city. He’s studying to be a cinematographer and he has a very creative photography perspective. 

 However, there was a slight confusion with dates and I had agreed to go to Alaverdi with Adria instead, so I missed Armen’s visit to Yerevan. With a slight change of events though as my intended one night trip to Alaverdi turned into a two night stay,  I ended up going through Gyumri to reach Yerevan. When I reached out to Armen, he was kind enough to make some time and space for me. 

What he reminded me was that hospitality and kindness go a long way. He asked his boss if he could take an early break and used his lunch time to show me around Gyumri. He made sure everything I needed was taken care of, stored my backpack at their store and he even brought his camera to snap a few shots in his beautiful city. He reminded me of the essence that links most Armenians together, which is a true understanding of hospitality. At times, I feel as if I am losing that sense of my own identity, considering it excessive. But I got reminded that there is nothing wrong with going out of one’s way to make another feel welcomed. He even called his friend Manvel to take me to Marmashen. My 6 hours there were spent efficiently and joyfully thanks to his help. 

Thank you Armen!

As part of my 30 day meditation and course in Buddhism at the Kopan Monastery in Nepal, I have decided to give voice to the people who have come into my life during this journey, as well as, the lesson they’ve left behind with our interaction. Since I am not permitted the use of technology during these thirty days of silence, I have accompanied their portraits with a brief story. 
Read more about the Silent Meditation at Kopan Monastery by clicking here

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