hidden features

Lena Mucha

NOOR - In Armenia and Karabakh, female cadets challenge stereotypes

Lena Mucha (1983, Germany), is a freelance photographer based in Berlin.

In 2011 she graduated with a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology and Political Sciences from the University of Cologne, Germany.


Lena had lived several years in Latinamerica and Spain, working on research projects about gender violence and civil resistance for NGOs such as Doctors without Borders. She has been awarded with different international prices as the Photo Annual Awards 2015, the Reporters in the Field Scholarship as well as a scholarship for Magnum photographer Patrick Zachmanns workshop and David Alan Harveys workshop in New York in 2016. With her work about young female cadets in Armenia and Karabakh she has been nominated for the Unicef Photo of the Year Award 2016.


Lenas work has been exhibited and published internationally (Spiegel, Washington Post, GEO, Stern, BURN Magazine, VICE Colombia, Leica Magazine, Huffington Post, El Pais, Nido Stern, 6mois, Lensculture). 


In Armenia and Karabakh, female cadets challenge stereotypes


Since the frozen war between Armenia and Azerbaijan erupted again in April 2016, more and more young girls are joining the army. But in Armenia and Karabakh, societies that often confine them to traditional gender roles, its only the second year that they are allowed to become combatants.


The young women are a first in conservative Armenia. But faced with a declining population, the government has decided to admit women into the army.


Despite objections against the girls active role in the military, they shrug off the criticisms and are sure that one day they will serve on the frontline.


Cadets saluting, Yerevan Military University
Girls in the library dressing their hair, Yerevan.
Female adets on the campus during their freetime and view over Yerevan.
Two girls hugging each other in their private room in the dormitory, Yerevan
Two girls chatting during free time, Yerevan Military University.
Girl in her uniform in the backyard of their dormitories, Yerevan.