Through our collaboration with Sara, the now well-known “How We Live” project was born. “How We Live” documents the face of poverty in Armenia as told through the personal stories of families living along the margins. The lives depicted in the images Sara created show families prevailing against inhuman odds and simultaneously making peace with what should be unacceptable. The project became a large-scale exhibition, a book of photography, and a documentary film. The exhibition opened in Los Angeles in March of 2009 at Casitas Studios, which is home to a thriving arts community in Los Angeles. During its short run, the exhibit attracted over 1000 visitors, garnering tremendous support from the local community, and generating coverage by various media outlets and arts and photography collectives. The multimedia exhibit/installation, designed and curated by architect Narineh Mirzaeian, features forty of Sara’s photographs, printed as translucent screens each measuring 5×7 feet, and suspended from an intricate tensile network.
A beautiful 96-page hardcover book of photography was also produced, designed by graphic designer Mary Minassians and edited by photojournalist Eric Grigorian, and features the stories and photographs of nine of the families documented by Sara. Moreover, a moving 13-minute documentary film was created by editor Karlo Gharabegian, which features video interviews and footage collected by Sara while interacting with the families depicted in the project. The film also features a beautiful original score by singer/songwriter Gor Mkhitarian. Since the creation of “How We Live,” Sara has toured to cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, giving lectures/photography presentations about the topic and project.
“How We Live” raised widespread awareness and sparked waves of dialogue throughout the Armenian Diaspora and also among non-Armenian circles by illuminating the daily challenges of poverty and exploring the socio-economic and political basis upon which poverty exists and is perpetuated. Simultaneously, the project shined a light on lives that might otherwise pass quietly into oblivion. The exhibit, book, and film helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for the Zangakatun (Belltower) Social Services NGO in Armenia – which consists of dedicated and selfless social workers who, since 1999, have been working to heal Armenian families broken by poverty.
TO HELP US CONTINUE TO SERVE FAMILIES PLAGUED BY POVERTY,