Expanding across geographies and interconnected communal spaces, Traces of Identity queries ambiguities and liminality of identity. The exploration is through my own identity and communities from my own history. I was born and raised in Beirut, came of age on the streets of Los Angeles with Armenia always present on the outer edges of my imagination. I have inherited a communal as well as familial history of trauma: first from the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and then the 1975 Lebanese civil war. The series is a riff on disruption and dislocation as sources and demarcations of identity. And the documentary image, in the fleeting moment as well as the history of place it embodies, becomes a dimension of that identity itself: it explores and defines simultaneously.
I live in Los Angeles, at the heart of the Armenian community.
With a French-Armenian education, I grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and I came of age in the America. I am Armenian, American, Lebanese and a world citizen. I live in and belong to a multiplicity of languages, cultures, ways of life and ways of thinking. My identity is amorphous and realizes itself in the in-between spaces, in the passage between the various cultures and languages in me. My identity is liminal and a process.
Traces of Identity/Los Angeles is an exploration of this process: an insider’s look at the sprawling Armenian experience of Los Angeles and a mirror held up to myself and my community, reflecting my hybrid and fractured identity. Traces constructs an expansive visual topography of community, encompassing not only the core (family, church, school) but also the fringes (incarcerated, substance abusers, alternative lifestyles).
It reflects upon the multiplicity of narratives already taking place and adds its own fragmented narrative. It traces the contours of a communal and personal identity as it unfolds and evolves within the greater social landscape of Los Angeles.
Photographs taken between 2000-2008.