Preserving the global Armenian experience through photography

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Who We Are

Founded in 1975 in New York City, Project Save Photograph Archives is the oldest institution solely focused on preserving and sharing the photography of the Armenian global experience. With over 80,000 hardcopy photographs in our collections, we bring to light the culture and history of Armenians worldwide through the stories that images tell.

Project Save is a living archive and open to all. Through various initiatives, outreach, and collaboration with organizations throughout the world, our mission is to highlight the dynamism, variety, and universal quality of the Armenian experience. In doing so, we not only preserve it, we humanize it, showing that the past is still alive in the present, and that it can illuminate the future.

Why photography?

The modern Armenian global experience is one of migration, divergence, trauma, and rebirth. We believe that photographs are one of the best ways to reflect the resilience, dynamism, and depth of that experience.

Photographs capture specific moments while also universalizing them—that is the unique power of photography. It can easily engage with diverse demographics across borders. When looking at a photograph, we often see ourselves and our shared humanity, in one way or another.

Photographs allow us to reflect on who we are today, as human beings, and what kind of tomorrow we want to wake up to.

As one of the important photography archives in North America, it is vital that in the next few years we move to a larger space that is better suited for our priceless collection and growing staff. An endowment is necessary to continue Project Save’s mission and protect its legacy in the long run—maintaining such a vast collection with all the hours and staff that it takes will not be sustainable otherwise.


Ruth Thomasian

Founder and President

Ruth Thomasian, photo archivist and social historian, founded Project Save Armenian Photograph Archives in 1975 out of her practical need for visual information to help her costume Armenian plays set in the homeland. Ruth quickly discovered that photographs and the stories their owners told her were a valuable source of cultural heritage and social history.

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Now, as Founder and President, she is focusing her attention on writing a book about her journey and fundraising for Project Save Archives’ future. She is still, however, a photo collector at heart, and will be happy to talk to anyone about original photos they would like to donate to Project Save.


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Arto Vaun, PhD

Executive Director

A Boston native, Dr. Arto Vaun was most recently Assistant Professor and Chair of the English and Communications BA program at the American University of Armenia (AUA), where he also founded and directed the Center for Creative Writing. He studied English Literature, Creative Writing, and Armenian Studies at UMass Boston, Harvard University, and Glasgow University. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Huddersfield University.

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Other than Armenia, Vaun has lived and worked in the UK, Beirut, and Berlin. As a poet and musician, he has published and performed widely. Vaun has utilized photography not only in his academic career but also in his art. Most recently, his experimental video installation, “The Transgression of Light”, was exhibited at the Buyrakan Observatory in Armenia and chosen as an official selection at the Revelation International Film Festival in Perth, Australia and the Helios Sun Poetry Film Festival in Mexico City.

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Staff portrait

Marta Fodor

Photo Archivist

Marta holds a BFA in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a Masters in Library Science from Queens College, CUNY. She is an SAA certified Digital Archives Specialist. Marta is also a photographer, and has a deep understanding of how photographs tell and preserve stories.


Izzy Wagner

Administrative & Archives Assistant

Izzy Wagner holds a BA in art history and museum studies from DePaul University and is currently working on a Master’s in Library Science. She has some experience in museum and photography spaces, helping curate a student-led online exhibition, “Demanding Change, Bearing Witness.” As she’s progressed in her education, she has taken an interest in photography as a medium and a universal tool, as well as digitization of archival materials.