Sarkissian Photo Center
‘Sarkissian Photo Centre’ (2010) consists of a series of images taken in Sarkissian’s father’s photography shop in Damascus, Syria, as well as a series of portraits of the artist, and of his father. Sarkissian senior has been a photographer his entire life, working independently in Damascus since the fifties. In 1979 he established the first photographic colour laboratory in Syria, the ‘Sarkissian Photo Centre’. It was a very successful business for more than twenty five years. This shop is where Hrair grew up, and where he earned his hands-on foundation in photography. He worked at this family business for 12 years, and was supposed to continue and take over the business. Instead, he decided to become a photographer and work for himself as an artist. His father is now 75 years old, nobody else in the family has the intention to take over the business, and the arrival of digital technology also means that the center cannot continue in its present form. After much deliberation his father has therefore recently decided to stop the lab and rent out the space for a different purpose.
Sarkissian documented the photo center before its closure, to keep the memories alive, afraid to lose something he had a great share in constructing, and that has also constructed him. In addition to the series documenting the center itself, he asked his father to take portraits of him as the ‘last portrait session’ series photographed by him in the studio. These colour portraits are displayed together with black and white portraits of his father taken at different stages of his youth, found in his archive.