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Mila Jovovich, Dima Bilan, Stella Maxwell and Lily-Rose Depp in the eyes of David Mushegain. STYLE’s interview with the Vogue photographer

14:15, June 28

Famous Armenian photographer of Vogue, David Mushegain was recently in Armenia. The photographer was here in order to once more explore his homeland, besides he realized some photo shoots with Victoria’s Secret’s Armenian model Rubina Khanzadian (see our interview with Rubina here). STYLE has had an interesting talk with David about Armenia, his collaborations with Stella Maxvell and the project Our City of Angels.

-David, from when on did your family move to California? When growing up, have you been told a lot of stories about Armenia?

-My dads family moved to California in 1900 during the first attempted Genocide of the Armenians.  My moms family came after the attempted Genocide of 1915. So we have been in California a long time. Both my parents are a hundred percent Armenian and my kids will be too.  Of course I was always told about Armenia and our history. I am proud to be Armenian. I grew up with Armenian Church , Armenian summer camp, Armenian music, Armenian family and of course Armenian food. I love our culture. We are all brothers and sisters. I believe that. 

-I have read that you’ve been working since very young age. What inspired you to take photography?

-I took photos at a young age  and many people told me I should continue to take photos. At the time though my biggest passion was writing. My other passion was traveling. I traveled around the world playing music and just kind of seeing things and talking to people. When I was 26 I decided it was time to really pursue something. I started out actually making clothing. I sold them everywhere from big stores like Barneys and to bands like The Rolling Stones. From making clothes I earned money to buy my cameras. 

-It’s interesting to know why did you decide to take the Mushegain surname?

-Because that’s my last name- Mushegain. Orignally it was Mushegian but it was spelled wrong when my great grandfather entered the US and we just kept it that way. 

By the way, David is the director of Dima Bilan's music video on Inceperable.

-Let’s speak about Our City of Angels. What’s the main idea of the project?

-Our City of Angels is a project with my friend Samuel Aroutiounian . We both really wanted to do something creative and fun. And for myself as a photographer I wanted some personal space to just be creative with my friends. Every big city has their own fashion magazines to represent them and Los Angeles does not, so I thought I would really love to represent our city. I love Los Angeles and I grew up in Los Angeles, so it’s close to my heart and soul.  

-In one of your interviews you’ve mentioned that Victora’s Secret model Stella Maxwell is like a family member for you. How did you become that close?

-Stella and I met in Paris about five summers ago when I was there doing a show at the store Colette. 

I saw her in a cafe and thought she was maybe the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. So I talked to her and we became friends. She became my muse and best friend. We traveled the world together for so many years now taking photos and just exploring. Stella is an incredible model, a inspiration and one of my best friends. She is my family. and she’s been to Armenia and loves it. She is a beautiful person 

-What inspired you to photograph her in Armenia in Armenian national dresses? Did she like her image as an Armenian girl?

-Stella and I thought it would be really cool to go to Armenia together. She comes with me to Armenian Church in LA and NY and she knows a lot about the culture. She really wanted to go. When the story for Vogue Russia came up I was so excited. I have been shooting for Vogue for 15 years and finally I could shoot in my Motherland. Stella is so dear to me as is my Armenian culture so to be able to combine the two was so amazing for me and I hope for others as well. As a culture Armenia has so much to share. As a nation Armenia is incredible. We have survived through everything. And I pray that Armenians speak up against the corruption in our country. I hope all of the past officials and thieves that stole billions from their own people return it to our people. Armenians are precious and we are family and I don’t understand why anyone would want to hurt our own culture.

You know sometimes when you are around the same people everyday they become sort of ordinary to you. What I am saying maybe if you live in Armenia you just see the person next to you as another person, but when you live in other countries where you are a minority, when you stop and think all that our people have been through and we are still here, when you think how amazing it is to be Armenian , you began to cherish meeting another Armenian. Unfortunately countries around the world are full of ridiculous restrictions on visa and travel so it makes it difficult for young Armenians to travel. And that is a shame because it’s so important to travel and explore. It’s also important to be home. The combination of the two, travel and home, make for really beautiful thoughts. There are so many creative and intelligent Armenians and I can’t help but feel a responsibility to do something to bring light to this. I want to do more. I want the Armenian kids or adults that are dreaming their dreams to know that you have family everywhere in the world.  

-So, how was Armenia for you

-I have been going to Armenian for almost 20 years now, since the mid 1990s. I  love Armenian so much and would like to have a house in Yerevan. I love working in Armenian. It’s so amazing. I want to do so many more projects in Armenia.  

I am working with model Rubina Khanzadyan . It’s been a dream of mine to work with Armenian models and to have some Armenian supermodels in the world. Rubina is an amazing artist and an incredible model. Im really excited. 

I would also love to come back soon and do a book about Armenia. I don’t know when that will happen though. It’s always on my mind. 

Syune Arakelyan

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