Katia Boyadjian


Armenian / Egyptian / French photographer Katia Boyadjian comes from a distinguished line of Armenian / Egyptian photographers (she is the niece of the renowned photographer, Van Leo and daughter of Angelo Boyadjian). Katia Boyadjian was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1958 and grew up in Paris, where her father had settled after fleeing Egypt during the time of Nasser’s regime. Raised in Paris, she spent hours in her father’s photographic studio and dark room watching him at work. Despite this upbringing, she never participated directly in her father’s production and had never imagined she would one day become a photographer. But at the age of 18 she went on to make a life-changing encounter, she met her partner in life the French artist Daniel Juré. Following this decisive meeting she will become photographer. 

Moving to Normandy with him she became his model, she began in 1992, without any formal training as a photographer, to document her days spent posing for the artist, a sort of studio diary continued to this day. Creating a series of autobiographic works entitled Jours ouvrés, she turns the camera on herself and Juré, thereby inverting the role of subject and object. Just as Picasso painted pictures of himself painting his models, so Boyadjian takes photos of herself being painted, creating a self-reflexive commentary on the role of an artist. In this relationship, we see the continuation of the artist / artist relationship, immortalised by such famous couples as Alfred Stieglitz and Geogia O’Keefe, Man Ray and Juliet Browner, Edward Weston and Tina Modotti. 

In this work, our attention is drawn to the intimacy of their relationship, emphasised by the rural tranquility of the studio. Accentuated by the play of light and dark elements of the setting, the figures are captured in crisp chiaroscuro. Highly contemplative in nature, these are no snap shots of Juré at work but are in themselves highly resolved works of art in their own right. Always intended for public display, we are privileged to view the world of a photographer who is not afraid to share her most personal moments. 

It is in 1994, during an exhibition at the French Cultural Center in Alexandria that Katia is returning to a country where she has only memories of borrowing. A photographic memory will replace the original memory and leads after several stays in artist residence at numerous exhibitions in museums in France abroad. Egypt is one that appears daily, both transformed and the heart of its truth. She made regular stays to Egypt until 2008. 

In 2002, she takes up an old technique for colour, oil painting on black and white silverprints, and began painting her works of Egypt series. So she invested in a patient work of colors that gives her images an aspect of “time hanging up”. By intervening with originals techniques, Katia Boyadjian transfigures nowadays the landscape with her prints enhanced by antiquated and unreal colours, but which paradoxically resonate with the site, or the memory we make of it. Her painted version of A l’ombre d’Amon takes on a poetic and amazin dimension, between 
reality and imagination. 

An excerpt is presented in the exhibition of Orient by Armenian photographers at the Arab World Institute in Paris for Year of Armenia in France. 

After the Nile, Katia Boyadjian went to Armenia in 2001. The return of Katia to the land of her forefathers, both painful but fertile, give rise to another photographic work, Hayasdan, Voyage en Arménie, presented in 2006 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Caen, in the context of the Year of Armenia in France.Work that will conclude its search for identity.