Studying Heavens and Earth on Mount Aragats

Photos and text by Toby Smith

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In Armenia, the Intersection of Divinity, Science and Living Off the Land

Mount Aragats is a four-peaked volcanic massif in Armenia. Shortly after World War II, observers discovered the presence of snowfields on the sides of the crater basin, as well as permanent glaciers within the crater, but analysis in recent decades indicates that the glacier’s surface area has rapidly retreated. This fact caught the interest of Reportage photographer Toby Smith, who traversed the mountain to document how climate change has affected the communities who reside on Aragats.

In collaboration with Project Pressure, a charity documenting the world’s glaciers, and with a grant from the Luminous Endowment for Photographers, photojournalist Toby Smith both circumnavigated and summited Mount Aragats in October 2016. The objective was to document the diverse narratives and situations all bound to and situated on the slopes of Mount Aragats.

Project Pressure is collaborating with world-renowned artists to create work that will inspire action and participation. Our purpose is to launch the world’s first comprehensive crowd- sourced glacier atlas hosted on an open source digital platform (MELT), a touring photographic exhibition, a documentary film and a book publication. ◊