Images by Julien Lombardi

Julien Lombardi’s award-winning series L’inachevé investigates what became of the Republic of Armenia, twenty years after gaining independence from Soviet Russia. Aiming to reconnect with his Armenian heritage, Lombardi found himself in a country that had both failed to jettison its past or fully inhabit the future. Through the camera lens, he attempted to answer a difficult question: what does the new Armenia look like?

Lombardi explains: “Two decades have passed and Armenia is still developing on the fringes. Mistrustful and weary, the people have decided to reclaim their present, as they no longer believe in the promise of better days ahead. Meanwhile, the existence of the old order endures.” Each shot illuminates a fascinating balance between what Armenia remembers and what it once hoped for, making for an indeterminate present. “The entire country is strewn with modern-day ruins where flocks graze and crops grow. Stations whose last train is long gone have been turned into housing, expansive fountains are now swimming pools.”

Suffused throughout the series, however, is a feeling of enduring spirit. The people are shown to make the best of the radical change wrought after independence. “I don’t mean to idealise things, but this state of irresolution is fruitful. There’s an energy that emanates from a burgeoning environment.” 

Created by Duncan Woods & Seb Camilleri