“I’m always trying to find other ways to fund my work”

Diana Markosian has been working as a photojournalist in the Caucasus and South Asia for four years. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Time.com, Foreign Policy, The Boston Globe and The Sunday Times. Since graduating from Columbia Journalism School in 2010, she has received several photography fellowships.

We had the opportunity to meet with Markosian when she came to Columbia Journalism School to speak about working as a freelance photographer. Here are some highlights from the conversation:

“When you believe in your work and look at yourself as a photographer, others will do so too. You have to get into that mindset. When you send emails to editors, remember that they don’t know all of your insecurities. Just show them what you have.”

“I really believe that is not about where you are, it’s about where you’re going. If you have some sort of vision of what you want to do with your career, a lot of editors will be happy to meet with you.”

“I’m not waiting for a call from major publications. Instead, I’m always trying to find other ways to fund my work. When you wait for somebody to call you, you use it almost as an excuse to not be doing what you actually want to do.”

“Don’t go after what sounds good or what you think will sell, because that will get in the way of the actual story that you’re trying to tell. If you find something that you really care about, the rest will follow.”

“I just don’t go out and shoot. I’ve to think about what I want to do with my photography. If I am working on a story and I need to develop it, I’ll write out what I want to do; develop a story outline and then go out and shoot.”

“I’m always thinking about how can I make my images better. And it’s hard to even understand what better means because it’s so relative and so personal. But I want to keep growing and maturing in the way that I tell my stories. It’s cool to see yourself develop.”

“You need to be honest with your subjects about who you are. I always say that I’m a photographer. If there’s a situation when you need to lie about it, you’re probably in the wrong situation.”


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