Pastel colors, curious characters and surreal imagery reign supreme in photos by Karen Khachaturov, who leads a learning lab on surreal and absurd photography at TUMO Yerevan. We sat down with Karen, a conceptual photographer, with 3.5 questions to learn more about him and his craft.
How did you get into photography?
About four years ago, photography spontaneously appeared in my life. I graduated from a medical high school, served in the army, and then started writing music across different genres — hip hop, jazz, electronic, lounge. In 2014, I was in university studying programming when I first picked up a camera and started taking photos. I wanted to try something new and had no idea how it would unfold. At first I was taking pictures of everything, but after a few projects my perspective changed. Photography became a way of talking.
How would you describe conceptual photography?
Conceptual photography is global. It’s about conveying ideas and isn’t limited to a single genre. In fact, my photos often combine genres, like surrealism and the absurd.
Although I don’t like pigeonholing work in genres, I recognize their descriptive value.
What inspires you?
As with any field, photography requires a lot of work and study. Following the work of other photographers can seriously develop and transform your craft. For example, David LaChapelle and Miles Albrecht have had a huge impact on my style. As an art form, photography is a wide spectrum and gives you a lot of opportunities to express yourself. Photography is also a reflection of your life experiences and perspectives, which I seek to broaden through travel — getting to know different people and ways of life.
After studying medicine, programming, and music, Karen now owns his own photo studio. He prepares his own sets which includes construction, painting and decorating.