Bridging stories: the Instagram account bringing Armenia and Turkey together through photography

24 March 2021

Instagram account @bridging.stories uses photography as a means of promoting peace between young people from Armenia and Turkey.

From colourful images of local markets, lush landscapes, urban streets at rush hour, and intimate scenes from daily life, the photographs capture local communities through the eyes of the aspiring photographers who live there.

The account belongs to Bridging Stories, an initiative part of Storyteller’s Cafe, a non-profit founded in 2016 by Armenian photojournalist Anush Babajanyan and National Geographic photographer John Stanmeyer.

The programme, supported by the US Embassy in Yerevan, ran two photojournalism camps in Dilijan, Armenia, in 2016 and 2019 with young participants from both countries. Each edition of camp saw Stanmeyer and Babajanyan working with Turkish photographers Serra Akcan and Sabiha Cimen respectively.

After learning about different photographic storytelling techniques, participants were tasked with going back to their local communities to capture snippets of their daily lives and the world around them. The best shots, which were also selected by camp leaders for in-person photography exhibitions in Yerevan and Istanbul, are now being shared on the Bridging Stories Instagram page.

From lonely late night trains to the buzz of wedding celebrations, the images capture universality of the world that photographers from both countries share, despite deep political divides reaching back to the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.

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