Story Behind the Shot

We verified the check-list: Morning coffee, warm and comfortable clothes, started the car, arrived at the meeting point right on time, and we were off towards Lake Sevan with a colleague. The road was icy and the going slow, so we had to entertain ourselves with more topics to chat about until we reached our final destination about an hour later than we usually did. Our final destination: the city of Gavar – one of the coldest cities in Armenia, so, of course, we could expect even more snow there.

We were visiting Gavar special school where around 70 children with disabilities study, many of them being in wheelchairs. As you can see the school has two floors, so as to make children move around the building independently we raised money to build an elevator in the school. That day was the day we went there to shoot a photo report of the project completion. FAR did a fabulous job managing the construction progress and we were really excited to see a brand new squeaky clean elevator in the building.

However, I was a little more excited and impatient than my colleague and it was obvious in my eyes that it was as if they were searching for something or somebody. Anyway, I was framing my shot trying to get the best angle of the elevator when I suddenly heard the elevator go up. So I thought, “Wow, that’s exactly what I may need – somebody going out of the elevator and this could be a very good documentary shot.” So after quickly checking exposure and making sure the framing was good, I slowly took a breath and raised the camera. The elevator wheels slowed, and I heard the ‘ding’ and the doors opened. I took a burst of photos and then I suddenly realize that this was actually the guy my eyes were searching for – Haykaz, my old friend!

I got to know Haykaz when I was still shooting a promo video for the project before we started raising funds. And look at his smile when he goes out and sees me – could I be wishing for anything better? These are the very small details that I keep in my memory – this whole trip is now depicted in my mind with just this smile. Haykaz not only has this contagious smile, but he is extremely smart, supportive and friendly. I’ve heard it said that in order to know a friend, one must go on a road trip with him. Well, me and Haykaz did not do a road trip – we flew together up high…