Tiana Markova-Gold

Artist Biography:

Tiana Markova-Gold is a freelance documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. She received a New York Times Scholarship to attend the full-time Photojournalism Program at the International Center of Photography in 2006-07. She has traveled extensively, documenting social issues with a particular focus on women and girls.

Tiana’s photographs have been recognized in numerous photography contests including Pictures of the Year International, New York Photo Awards, PDN Photo Annual and American Photography. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Sasha Wolf Gallery, Exit Art, New York Photo Festival, HOST Gallery in London, England, the LagosPhoto Festival in Lagos, Nigeria and the Lumix Festival of Young Photojournalism in Hanover, Germany. She is a 2010 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Photography and 2010 recipient, with writer Sarah Dohrmann, of the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for If You Smoke Cigarettes in Public You Are a Prostitute: Women and Prostitution in Morocco.


In the spring of 2011 I spent three and a half months in Morocco working with writer Sarah Dohrmann on a collaborative project about prostitution and the marginalization of women. The project was funded by a grant from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

While in Morocco I began to work with collage, cutting up the photographs I was making and piecing them back together, layering and juxtaposing the images. I was spending time with and photographing women who were pushed to the edges of society— single mothers, divorcees, prostitutes. Many of these women did not feel safe having their faces photographed – some didn’t feel safe being photographed at all – but it was important for them to talk about their experiences. I began to use the collages as a way to protect the women’s identities (when necessary) while expressing what I understood about their lives and examining my own perceptions and experiences in the process.

Having worked for several years on long-term projects addressing the complicated and layered issues around prostitution, I had become frustrated with the limitations of straightforward documentary work or reportage. I felt compelled to take a more conceptual approach to exploring ideas around representation and perception, marginalization, sexuality, the idealization and/or demonization of women’s bodies, visibility and invisibility. My goal with this work is to not only explore some of the perceptions and realities of women’s lives in Morocco, but to raise questions about the documentary process itself and the impact of visual representation on women’s relationships with power, choice and identity.

I titled this work Scènes et Types in reference to the colonial Orientalist postcards made primarily by French photographers in the early 1900’s. These postcards (often in series called Scènes et Types) featured staged portraits of nude or semi-nude North African women in highly exoticized postures, costumes and settings. It is documented that the models for these photographs were almost always prostitutes.

My collage work is comprised entirely of photographs I made in Morocco in the spring of 2011.

Artists Website: www.tianamarkovagold.com