One of the darkest pages of history for Gyumri, a city in Armenia, is the earthquake of 1988. Many of the inhabitants live in terrible conditions and are still struggling to make ends meet. In his series Still Believe, Czech photographer Martin Holík (b. 1985) documented the lives of modern day residents, illustrating hope in the face of great challenge. He states: “They managed to reconcile themselves to their fate and decided to believe in a better tomorrow.”
The series intends to serve as a visual representation of what Holík calls ‘The city of death’. The photographs show the ruins of former houses, stacks of rescued books, the recurring symbol of the Christian cross and a variety of portraits from residents who survived the earthquake in their teenage years to the youngest generation of today. This modern portrait of poverty only depicts individuals, emphasizing the loss of thousands of people, inclusive perhaps of their family members. Yet, as photography speaks about the passage of time, you can see how this community lives on with the sparkle of hope in their eyes.