Armenak Arzrouni

Armenak Arzrouni (Studio Armand)

Armenak Arzrouni is an Egyptian-Armenian photographer, born in 1901 in Erzurum and moved with his father to Alexandria, Egypt in 1907. At school, he had a passion for drawing. According to Maria Golia, Arzrouni had apprenticed with the photographer Karapet Pabuchyan at the Alexandria-based studio ‘Nadir’ in the 1920s. In 1925 he moved to Cairo to work as an assistant to Zola, a renowned photographer and portraitist at his studio in Madabegh St near Suares Square. Upon Zola's death in 1930, Arzrouni opened his own studio in Suares Square under the name Studio Armand. It soon became one of the prominent photographic studios in Cairo which include Alban, Van Leo, Angelo and Studio Venus. He specialized in portrait photography, and took photographs of politicians, film stars, famous cabaret dancers, sportsmen, as well as members of the royal family. Arzrouni's style was flamboyant - as was the custom in the 1940s and 1950s, but he had a more naturalistic and straightforward approach than his more famous colleagues. In particular, Arzrouni avoided overtly theatrical lighting. The clarity of space and forms in his photographs, makes his subjects both very mundane and surreal at the same time. In 1956, he opened a second studio in Soliman Pasha St. He was especially well known for the elaborate settings of his wedding photographs. He also occasionally received orders for photographs of hotels and department stores. His son Armand worked as his assistant as early as 1960, took over the studio after his father's death in 1963 and continued to work under the same brand name. He signs his photographs in the same way as his father. 

Some of his photography

Credits: Armenak Arzrouni's biography by Vigen Galstyan, 2016.

Arab Image Foundation, Armand Collection.