My project is dedicated to Landslide in Armenia. The second natural disaster after the earthquake in Armenia.
Why do this project? Because nobody imagines the potential danger of landslide. Some people have no idea what it is. By shooting this story I wanted to show the life of people living in landslide areas to the world. Many victims of this phenomenon don’t even know that they are to blame for their fate as well, since landslide is not only a natural disaster, but also a disaster caused by people themselves.
About 47,000 people, which is the 1,5% of the whole population of Armenia, are under the threat of a natural disaster called “landslide”. A landslide is a collapse of a mass of earth or rock from a mountain or cliff caused by the force of gravity, which is triggered by a number of factors, such as earthquakes, seismic triggers, and human activity.
Clay layer landslides are very common in Armenia, where the water is gathered between the two layers, and eventually the top layer starts to move as a result of the external factors. They occur mainly in mountainous areas, from habitation areas to pastures and hills.
The best way to prevent landslides from occurring is not supporting their creation. Humans are the main culprit behind disasters, the rest are natural phenomena turned into disasters by human negligence.
“Don’t go that way. It’s very dangerous there. The wall can crumble and hurt you” – people I was taking taking photos of warned me. Poor people, they go to sleep with anxious thoughts, not knowing if they will get up with the walls standing or crashed. For instance, during my shootings, I witnessed a wall standing one day and completely ruined the following day.
Landslide is a periodical phenomenon which might not occur for many years, but arise unexpectedly within a second. So people living in risk area wish and hope that it will sleep for years and years. The photos capturing everyday life of the local inhabitants were taken in Sovetashen cemetery, Getahovit and Voghjaberd villages in the course of a year.
About Arthur Lumen
Arthur Lumen is a photographer and a filmmaker based in Armenia. Known for his attention to detail and unconventional approach to the creative process, Lumen specializes in documentary, portrait and wedding photography /www.lumenwedding.com/. He also founded Lumen Photo School in 2011, which has since graduated 150 photography enthusiasts.
In 2012, Arthur Lumen was awarded a Documentary Photography Project grant by Open Society Foundations. He completed the “Landslide in Armenia” project over 18 months. Through his lens, the photographer captured the human costs of environmental calamity. Lumen documented the daily realities confronted by communities living in landslide zones.
Lumen is currently compiling a longterm project entitled “Lifetime Project”. Every year until 2022, Lumen will document the development in the lives of 14 children from the Gorayq village.
Throughout his career, Arthur Lumen has turned to renowned photographers for guidance, including Yuri Kozyrev (Noor Images), Thomas Dworzak (Magnum Photos), Adrian Kelterborn (Magnum In Motion), Andrei Polikanov (Russian Reporter), and Patrick Sutherland (University of the Arts London). [Official Website]