November 20, 2021

Behind the Photobooks with Gillian Laub and Diana Markosian

At International Center of Photography - New York

Aperture Conversations

Behind the Photobooks with Gillian Laub and Diana Markosian

Saturday, November 20

1:00 p.m. EST

International Center of Photography 79 Essex Street New York,

Join photographers Diana Markosian and Gillian Laub for a discussion on their recent Aperture publications, Diana Markosian: Santa Barbara and Gillian Laub: Family Matters, with creative director Lesley Martin.


About the Program Format

In-person seating for this event is sold out. Reserve your ticket for Live Online Viewing (Free with suggested donation).


About the Books

Santa Barbara is the debut monograph by Diana Markosian, a talented artist who works at the intersection of photography and film. The series recreates the story of Markosian’s family’s journey from post-Soviet Russia to the US in the 1990s. The project pulls together staged scenes, film stills, and family pictures in an innovative and compelling hybrid of personal and documentary storytelling. In it, the artist grapples with the reality that her mother, seeking a better life for herself and her two young children, escaped Russia and came to the US. Markosian’s family settled in Santa Barbara, a city made famous in Russia when the 1980s soap opera of that name became the first American television show broadcast there. Weaving together reenactments by actors, archival images, and stills from the original Santa Barbara TV show, Markosian reconsiders her family’s story from her mother’s perspective, relating to her for the first time as a woman and coming to terms with the profound sacrifices she made to become an American.

Family Matters zeroes in on photographer Gillian Laub’s family as an example of the way Donald Trump’s knack for sowing discord and division has impacted communities, individuals, and households across the country. As Laub explains, “I began to unpack my relationship to my relatives—which turned out to be much more indicative of my relationship to the outside world than I had ever thought, and the key to exploring questions I had about the effects of wealth, vanity, childhood, aging, fragility, political conflict, religious traditions, and mortality.” These issues became tangible in 2016, when Laub and her parents found themselves on opposing sides of the most divisive presidential election in recent US history; and further exacerbated in the lead-up to the 2020 election, in the wake of a global pandemic and protests in support of Black Lives Matter. Family Matters reveals Laub’s willingness to confront ideas of privilege and unity, and to expose the fault lines and vulnerabilities of her relatives and herself. Ultimately, Family Matters celebrates the resiliency and power of family—including the family we choose—in the face of divisive rhetoric. In doing so, it holds up a highly personalized mirror to the social and political divides in the US today.


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