Karen Mirzoyan: Global success requires a lot of time

About two years ago, Mirzoyan cafe-library was founded in Yerevan . In its funds, it has several hundred rare in Armenia publications dedicated to the works of outstanding photographers from different countries. According to the founder of the library - the famous documentary photographer Karen Mirzoyan, there is everything necessary for the general public to join the art of photography.

I'm a photographer and travel around the world, take photos as well as implement large projects, all of which can be considered successful. Opening of "Mirzoyan" Library was the first project that I carried out. I had never thought I'd be engaged in business management: I cannot judge how well I am doing. We are open already almost 2 years and have difficulties, but we are also seeing progress. People are already talking about us. But it is obvious that global success takes time.

Today "Mirzoyan" library is the largest photo library in the region. We do not advertise, it is not our goal. Even if many people come, we won’t be able to provide sufficient income to support the library, that’s why our goal is not to make money through the library, but to have more people visiting the library who are really interested in books on photography. Young people who want to become photographers, would be able to come to us and find everything they need.

Despite the huge potential, the photo education in the Caucasus can not be called strong. It's a complex and expensive process not only for Armenia, but for the small countries in general. Now in my library, there are several hundred photo books and albums - all rare editions for Armenia, introducing the works of great masters of photography.

This library is the beginning of the next project. It is necessary to bring photo archives to Armenia. Those are already photo documents. In this case, it is not about creating a photo centre but bringing photos as documents that will help to explore history. Thus, our library will also have guests from different countries who will come to explore photo archives.

The library plans to launch Photo courses, but we are still very far away from the proper photography training. In Armenia, there are photographers, who have good knowledge of technical aspects of photography. But there are very few masters recognized abroad, who could share their artistic and professional experience.

We're going to apply to libraries of different countries, with which we can implement projects, share books: at least, this will help to know each other and move forward.


Karen Mirzoyan was born in 1981 in Tbilisi, Georgia. He graduated from Yerevan State Linguistic University named after Brusov, Faculty of Romance and Germanic languages, but, as he admits, he always imagined himself in art. He works as a photographer since 2003. Karen has received numerous awards. His photo story "The Unrecognized Islands of Caucasus" was published in 4 volumes. Karen Mirzoyan photographs often represent the war and its consequences. His photo projects are stories of human lifes: representatives of different nationalities, people whose pain or joy are touching and make us think.

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