One of these days I got a facebook message from German photographer Dirk Skiba telling me he is coming to Yerevan and would like to take a photo of me. He sent me the link of his website, to have a look at his works. His works were in a style that I hate, and I told Skiba I don’t want him to take my photo. Then Mr Skiba started to explain me that he is not a beginner in his profession, that he “has documented the literary circles” in Cuba, Belarus, Georgia, România and some other countries, that “it’s the project of his life”. This was on Saturday. Then yesterday I get a call from my friend who is surprised that I refused a German photographer who has come to Armenia to take photos of Armenian writers. Well, it seems I have to write about this.

Here is a link to Dirk Skiba’s website, you can take a look at it:

Look at people in these photos, the style of photographer has covered them all—like a fog. “Aestheticization of ugliness”—this is how I would call that style. It’s not the people who are ugly, it’s the eye of the photographer that makes them ugly—in a conceptual way. Аestheticization of ugliness is present in these photos as a concept. They are an apotheosis of ugliness, not each one of them, but all of the photos as a whole.

Sure, the aestheticization of ugliness is not invented by Dirk Skiba, it is a phenomenon largely present in contemporary photography, especially in the part of it called documentary photography. It is not just a phenomenon, it is a tendency. And this tendency is present also in modern Armenian photography. Some two years ago
we were talking about this with Nazik Armenakyan, and I promised her to write about my understanding of the issue. Well, I’m not sure I realized my promise with this small text, but at least I found a name for the phenomenon: aestheticization of ugliness.