Karen Mirzoyan photographed portraits of Armenian men and women who had attempted suicide. This work is part of a larger, ongoing body of work on suicide survivors in a number of countries, including Belarus, Lebanon, Turkey, and the United States.
While photographing, Mirzoyan also collected interviews of survivors reflecting back on their suicide attempts, what motivated them, and how this affects who they are now. Through this work, Mirzoyan aims to explore the question of what is both hidden and revealed in portraiture, and to what extent depression, and the trauma of suicide, can be detected by looking at someone’s face. Eventually, this work will be used to create a website and online community for suicide survivors or those contemplating suicide.
Karen Mirzoyan was born in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1981 and moved to Armenia in 1992. He graduated from the Yerevan State Linguistic University. From 2004 to 2005, Mirzoyan participated in a photojournalism training program organized by World Press Photo and the Caucasus Media Institute and received a diploma of excellence. He has received grants from the British Council and World Press Photo, and was awarded the Magnum Foundation Young Photographer in the Caucasus Award, as well as a scholarship for the 2010 New York University/Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights Program. In 2010, he was selected as a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund photographer.