By Hagop Vartivarian
FAIR LAWN, N. J. – Boston-born Brooklynite Scout Tufankjian is a well-known name in international photojournalism, becoming particularly prominent after her book documenting Barack Obama’s 2007-8 presidential campaign. This followed four years of difficult and dangerous work in the Middle East. She was in Gaza (Palestine) during a period of Israeli aggression and then in Egypt during the revolution, whereby the government was changed and the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. She documented both situations through her photography, which helped influence international public opinion.
Tufankjian’s book Yes We Can: Barack Obama’s History-Making Presidential Campaign appeared in December 2008, and was ranked by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times as a bestseller.
Her newest publication, There Is Only the Earth: Images from the Armenian Diaspora Project, is a gift to Armenian and non-Armenian readers at the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. On October 16, the Tekeyan Cultural Association of Greater New York (TCA) together with St. Leon Armenian Church organized a presentation on this book in the church hall of the latter. The Armenian Network of America-Greater NY and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) were also cosponsors.
Ara Araz welcomed guests, and then NY TCA executive member Shemavon Atamian introduced Tufankjian, remarking that they have been friends for years.
Thanks to her continuing interests in Armenian affairs and her visits to various communities, Tufankjian was able to present different facets of Armenian life to the audience. She focused on aspects of daily life, staying away from secular and clerical leaders, and the luxurious and dissolute lives of some of the former (who in any case only constitute a small percentage of the Armenian people).