is a metro New York and Armenia-based photographer/multi-media artist with deep roots in the theatrical and visual arts.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, he studied theatre arts at the American College. During these formative years, Nareg developed a deep appreciation and acute sensitivity to the magic of light, color, and motion in communicating emotion, mood and perspective on the stage.
After moving to the United States in 1988, Nareg continued to explore his creative talents through other media, including photography. Yet it was not until setting foot in his ancestral homeland of Armenia, a wonderland of early Christian monasteries and churches built with nothing but stone, space and natural light, that Nareg began to perceive the extrasensory dimensions of light and motion. Thus began his pursuit to harness these spectral energies at a single moment in time and space.
When captured through the lens of the camera, these invisible worlds within invisible worlds conjoin with objective reality to create a universe of infinite expression and interpretation.
Each image is at once representational, abstract expressionist, impressionistic, and otherworldly. These energetic auras, usually reserved for the realms of dreams, spiritual transcendences and even hallucinogenic altered states, become accessible and instantaneous to even the most grounded beholder.
This is the genesis of the Nareg Hartounian “Photaura” series. A groundbreaking art form all its own, it is a new channel by which multiple dimensions of existence and perception co-exist, converge and coalesce, weaving their way between conscious recognition and subconscious sensibility in a static image.
The dictionary defines aura as ‘a subtle atmosphere’, and the term is derived from an ancient word for ‘breeze’; the supernatural energy or presence of a benevolent spirit. With his lens, Nareg catches these living spirits like butterflies with a net. His visions range from pure abstractions to the wildest fever dreams, transfiguring the ordinary world like water into wine. Sensual, frightening, sublime and always mysterious, these images are pure feeling: a marriage of light and movement, fate and chance. Every shot is in a state of becoming; a work-in-progress that relies on your imagination for its final shape and meaning. Like my grandma reading a coffee cup, what you see is who you are.
The auras Nareg captures are as much his as they are his subjects’. Using his camera the way an action painter uses a brush or a can of paint, Nareg physically projects himself into his work. The emotion in his pictures comes from the very act of taking them. Each is an expression of Nareg’s dynamic presence and his boundless passion for people and the love they inspire. “Energy is eternal delight” wrote William Blake. I can’t think of a better description for these creations. – Zareh Tjeknavorian
With its splendid array of serene lights and delicate colors interwoven with surreal images of angelic like beings, Photaura has provided me with perhaps a truly unique opportunity to observe firsthand what the spiritual dimension of our earthly existence may resemble. Heavenly in nature, it captures the imagination as it nourishes the spirit and soothes the senses. Photaura is a spectacular journey into another dimension of existence. – Haroutioun Aghavian
Any creative act, when it is genuine, is tied in to the very core of the creator’s personality. I can think of no better example of that than Photaura. Like the man Nareg Hartounian, these works take chances, explore the unknown and require a leap of faith on the part of all participants (photography, subject and viewer). These photographs portray the essence of what exists but is unseen until revealed by the artist. The work, like the man, is at once brave, colorful, mesmerizing, psychedelic, vibrant, other-worldly and always passionate. – John Hodian
None of his work is accidental; it’s an organized expedition into the unknown. Each picture in this collection is an exciting adventure of new discoveries filled with intense spiritual emotion. – Richard Asadourian