MOB (Military Mobilization)

Winners 2017

Areg Balayan

Areg Balayan is a photographer based in Erevan, Armenia. As a freelance photographer, he worked with UN, UNIDO, YMCA, Armenia Fund, and LA-based USC Shoah Foundation. From 2009, Areg work as a staff photographer for the PAN Karabakh bureau. His photographs for PAN were published in several media, such as Reuters, Al Jazeera, Esquire Russia, and others.

1 place
The Conflict
2017

MOB (Military Mobilization)

For the past 11 years I have lived in Stepanakert, the capital of unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, with my wife and two children. On April 2nd, 2016, the military conflict that brought the republic to life started again. Same day I was drafted as a private into Karabakh Defence Army and placed at the most distant border outpost. On that day I died: died as a person, as a photographer, as a citizen... I accepted the thought that I wouldnt exist in this world anymore. I turned into a tiny spot next to nothing. I hardly thought about home in the beginning, almost forgot about it. It was the only way not to go insane. I had to defend the outpost, and survive. Period. And then I found the way out from this inhuman situation, maybe the only way: I started to live for the sake of my younger brothers-in-arms, 18-years-old conscripts. This is the point where Id regained myself the small spot that I became started to grow. I had no choice between the rifle and my camera it was my duty to hold Kalashnikov. And still I was taking photos. These images tell the tale of my journey, from photographer to combatant and to photographer back again.