The Explore Armenia Grant
Supporting Photography in Armenia
Project Pressure - Mount Aragats and Lake Sevan
Toby Smith - London, United Kingdom
Mount Aragats is both the highest point in Armenia, a beautiful national symbol and a popular destination for tourists. Toby Smith and Project Pressure will complete a summer expedition to circumnavigate and summit Mount Arafat, documenting the stunning landscapes, historical sites and incredible panoramic views. The results will be geotagged and published online. Lake Sevan, the recreational and economic heart of Armenia will then be circumnavigated to create a vivid and diverse documentary.
Project Pressure - Mount Arafats and Lake Sevan
Mount Aragats is the highest point in Armenia, first climbed in 1829 it has become a national symbol for the Armenia people. The mountain has featured as the country’s coat-of-arms and is found in the names and logos of countless current Armenian companies, teams and collectives. Its slopes have seen historic Armenian capitals, battles for their control and its volcanic cone is, according the the Christian Bible’s First Testament, the landing point of Noah’s Ark.
Today the mountain hosts an observatory and is a popular destination for tourists, especially in summer. Mount Aragats is also famous for its beautiful mountain lake Kari. On its slopes are numerous areas of permanent snow cover and small glaciers that through a network of tributaries feed Lake Sevan.
Toby Smith and Project Pressure propose to complete a summer expedition to circumnavigate and summit Mount Aragats, documenting the stunning landscapes, historical sites and incredible panoramic views of the landscape of Armenia in the hope that by publishing the images climbers and adventure seekers will be encouraged to travel to Armenia and follow in their footsteps.
Project Pressure is a charity documenting the world’s glaciers, collaborating with world-renowned artists to create work that will inspire action and participation. Our purpose is to launch the world’s first comprehensive crowd- sourced glacier atlas hosted on an open source digital platform (MELT), a touring photographic exhibition, a documentary film and a book publication.
From our initial research this stunning mountain has very little publicity or images available online. The resulting photography from our expedition will be both panoramic and traditional. All of the images will be Geotagged and hosted on an accessible archive allowing users to tour the mountain and plan their own routes.
Project Pressure benefits educational, cultural and science sectors, and will continue to do so for generations to come. The ongoing mission is to document and publicise the world’s receding glaciers, to depict firsthand the environmental impact of climate change and create useful data for scientific use.
The watershed of Mount Aragats, in part, flows into the Lake Sevan. The largest lake in Armenia and Caucasus. It has huge tourism, cultural, agricultural and irrigation value and hosts an island monastery alongside numerous pleasure beaches.
Careful intervention by the Armenian Government reversed historical damage to the lake by diverting water from the Aragats plain. Following meltwater downstream from Aragats glaciers will lead the Project Pressure expedition around the lake’s perimeter documenting another important area of Armenia ripe for exploration and tourism reinforcing the link between mountain water sources and its usage.