Cosmic Solitude: Photographic Journey Explores the Story of Cosmic Ray Research Station on Mount Aragats

Cosmic Solitude is a photographic exploration of solitude and isolation three people experience in a place that once buzzed with life, almost as though this was also a scientific experiment. It documents the banal daily routine at the Cosmic ray research Station high in the mountains in Armenia.

The Aragats Cosmic Ray Research Station is situated on the slopes of Armenia’s Mount Aragats. The Station was the largest center of physics devoted to the study of cosmic rays during the soviet time. The story is photographed by documentary photographer Yulia Grigoryants.

The place is a symbol of what Yulia Grigoryants, an Armenian photographer, calls Cosmic Solitude. Once upon a time, it was one of the bustling centers of physics, devoted to the study of cosmic rays: high-energy particles thrown from exploding stars, black holes and other astrophysical calamities thousands or millions of light-years away and whistling down from space.

Here, at the station, totally isolated from society, 70-year-old Artash Petrosyan has been working as a cook for 32 years. Now he cooks for 3, instead of 100. Here, where the average winter temperature is -15 degrees Celsius, the days pass slowly for the two young laboratory assistants, as well. Karen Asatryan(26) has been working at the station for the last 8 years, while Edik Arshakyan(44) joined the team recently. They have one-month shifts to maintain the station 24 hours/day, year-round, year after year, wondering if one day they might find themselves like the old man who spent half of his life here.

Yulia Grigoryants is an independent photographer born in Azerbaijan to an Armenian family. In 1988 she settled in Armenia to escape the violence perpetrated against the Armenian population in Azerbaijan.

Her works were published internationally, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, and The Sunday Times.

In 2020 she became a laureate of the Rencontres Photographiques des Amis d’Albert-Kahn award for my long-term story “Cosmic Solitude”. In 2021 “Cosmic Solitude” I was awarded with Prix Maison Blanche. In 2017 She was shortlisted for the prestigious Sony world photography award.

To learn more about Yulia’s work and to support the publication of her photobook, go to:…


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