“I think the woman’s gaze is something to feel empowered by.”

“The Disappointment”, Santa Barbara, 2019 © Diana Markosian / Courtesy Galerie Les filles du calvaire

How did you become a photographer? Would you define yourself as a one?

I was 20 when I was introduced to photography. There was a part of me that wanted to see the world, a little differently than everyone else. Photography allowed me to do this. It became my compass, taking me to places I had only read about in books and that I had the chance to see intimately. I think ultimately it was never about the images, though. It was about the people I met. I wanted to feel what it was they were experiencing, and photography brought me a little closer to that experience.

What drives you as a photographer?

A lot of my work is personal. I try to approach it in a way that allows someone to experience the world that I am creating. I spent a decade traveling around the world, working on stories in countries like Nepal, Russia and Cuba. It’s still a part of my practice, but I see myself slowing down and approaching my work in a different way, perhaps more introspective.

Do you think there is such a thing as a ‘woman’s gaze’ in photography? Is this something you can relate to?

Yes, of course it is valid, necessary even. I am interested in how we create work that is personal. To me, being a female is part of it. How do I create art that only I could make as a woman? How do I use my femininity to tell stories more intimately? It’s something I am trying to understand for myself as an artist. I think the woman’s gaze is something to feel empowered by. The thing that interests me now is how to use the gaze, and how to make something that actually moves the conversation forward in photography.

Has being a woman influenced your work as an artist in any way? 

I think being a woman makes me more vulnerable in a way a man isn’t, especially when I am travelling. I am often alone, and the people who help me on my projects, are those who I photograph. The intimacy that’s formed between us allows for something more than an image to be created.

Do you live off your art?

Yes. I’ve been working as an artist for the past decade.

Which authors have inspired you? Are there any women photographers among them?

Sophie Calle, Viviane Sassen, Chantal Ackerman, Taryn Simon, Carrie Mae Weems are all artists who have inspired me and informed my work. They all happen to be women.

Diana Markosian


Diana Markosian (1989) is a Russian-American photographer of Armenian descent who holds a Master of Science from Columbia University in New York. Exploring the notions of memory and place, her projects have taken her all over the world. Using video, photography and drawing, she has developed a work which is both documentary and experimental, always infused with her intimate approach. Her works have been published by the National Geographic, the New Yorker or the New York Times, and have won numerous photography awards, notably the World Press Photo Award (2019) and the Magnum Foundation Fund Grant (2018). Diana Markosian has exhibited her projects internationally (United States, Italy, France, UK, Turkey, etc.) and in 2020 she produced her first monograph, Santa Barbara, published by Aperture.

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