ARLINGTON, Mass. — On Sunday, December 4, Project Save Photograph Archive held a Christmas reception at the Armenian Cultural Foundation here to raise funds and display the historic value of the treasure trove the organization has. Little did organizers know their point would be made so poignantly and literally.
Executive Director Arto Vaun’s talk turned included a slide presentation, the first of which featured Barlow’s Market in Arlington in 1922, with proprietor Sarkis Boyajian and his staff standing outside the store. Vaun noted that not much more was known about Boyajian when a woman in the audience, Mary Ann Kazanjian, shouted that he was her grandfather. The amused and amazed audience was delighted.
Serving as master of ceremonies was photographer Winslow Martin. Explaining his longtime connection with the organization, Martin said that he first met Project Save founder Ruth Thomasian when sent to photograph her on assignment for the Watertown Tab newspaper. That assignment led him to “understand the importance of what they do.”
He added, “The power of the art of photography” is instrumental for “remembering and honoring” the past generations. “Thank you, Ruth, for your undying passion and for creating all of this.”
Thomasian for her part said, “We focus on change. Life changes and that is what our photographs try to capture.” She in turn thanked the Mirak Foundation, on whose premises the program was being held, and Executive Director Ara Ghazarians.
Thomasian said she had fully stepped back from Project Save to focus on a book she is working on about the history of the organization and its inception. As for the mission of the organization and her reasons for launching it in 1975, she said, “We focused on change. Life changes and that is what photographs capture.”