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DIANA MARKOSIAN  Winner Happiness ONTHEMOVE 2018 Award

Santa Barbara

In Russia, the 1980s soap opera Santa Barbara — saturated with wealth and sun—was the first and, for a long time, the only American show available. For many families, it symbolized all of America, all of the West. My own family was no exception.

Inspired by the show, my mother found a way to achieve the true American dream. “I am a young woman from Moscow,” my mother wrote in a classified advertisement she placed in a Los Angeles newspaper in 1996. “I want to see America, and meet a kind man who can show me the country.” The ad attracted dozens of American men who wrote back, inviting her to a new life on the other side of the world. One of them was from Santa Barbara. And this is where the story begins: the experience of touching something that felt untouchable. My mother became a mail-order bride, taking my brother and I with her to America to meet the man who would soon take the place of my real father.

For the past year, I’ve worked with a set of actors to re-construct my family’s first experiences as immigrants in America.


Diana Markosian is an Armenian-American artist whose work explores the relationship between memory and place. Born in the former Soviet Union, her family immigrated to the United States when she was a child, leaving her father behind. In 2010, she received her master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her images can be found in publications like National Geographic Magazine, The New Yorker and The New York Times. In 2016, she became a Magnum nominee.

Happiness is a point of view.


As with all previous editions, the 7th edition of our Happiness ONTHEMOVE contest, partnered with Consorzio Vino Chianti, features happiness as its central theme.

Development of the theme is left to your own personal vision, creativity and sensitivity. Photographers are asked to reflect upon the theme, avoiding a purely literal interpretation, and developing the multifaceted sides of the concept. Happiness is a choice. It can be a fully articulated story, or it can be something internal, sometimes subtle and not always self-evident. It depends entirely on the experience of each individual.

Happiness is suspension, surprise, a story that resonates inside you, often for no reason whatsoever. Happiness is action, it is stillness, it can be just a look, or maybe an entire lifetime. We’re not looking for easy smiles or stereotyped images. We want to see true happiness in your stories.

The aim of the ONTHEMOVE international prize is to amaze the jury with a tale of unexpected, astonishing happiness. Participants are invited to submit works that develop the general theme of the contest in an original manner.

The winner of Happiness ONTHEMOVE will receive a prize of 3,000 euros plus exhibition space in the subsequent edition of Cortona On The Move, in 2019. The winning project will be awarded and projected on the evening dedicated to projections during the inauguration period of COTM 2018.

The jury

The jury for the prize convenes exclusively online and is composed of field experts and professionals.

Elena Boille – Internazionale
MaryAnn Camilleri – The Magenta Foundation
Elisa Medde – Foam Magazine
Giuseppe Oliverio – PHmuseum
Arianna Rinaldo – Cortona On The Move
Fiona Rogers – Magnum

Consorzio Vino Chianti and Cortona On The Move

The Consorzio Vino Chianti (Chianti winegrowers consortium) has represented a group of Chianti vintners since 1927 and it has been promoting the Chianti brand itself since that time. It is dedicated to safeguarding a product of excellence that is tied to a specific geographical area and its history.
The consortium’s partnership with Cortona On The Move came about through its desire to support initiatives that tell simple, everyday stories while giving us glimpses of happiness and passion.

How to apply

Each project submitted should include:

  • A minimum of 8 and a maximum of 15 images. Each image should be in Jpeg format, colour or B&W, 800 pixels on the longest side, a resolution of 72dpi and a max file size of 2 Mbs. You must retain a corresponding, high resolution file of at least 10 Mbs per image which we will ask you to provide us with if your application is accepted. Each file should be named and sequenced as follows: SIRNAME, FIRST NAME INITIAL, SEQUENTIAL IMAGE NUMBER (for example: James Frey will name his files: FREY_J_001.jpeg, FREY_J_002.jpeg, etc.)
  • Title (of your project)
  • A written presentation of your work in English (maximum 1000 characters including spaces)
  • Bio in English (a brief written biography, not a CV)

Send your projects between April 16 and May 27th, 2018 at 23:59 CET (May 27th, 14:59 PST)



  • The author must hold intellectual property rights and own full copyright for the work presented
  • Any project entered that is the work of multiple photographers should include a written declaration of agreement, signed in advance by all parties concerned
  • After the winning entry has been announced the author(s) must grant temporary rights to Associazione ONTHEMOVE for ALL the images in the project AT HIGH RESOLUTION (300 dpi) for the following uses:

° production and exhibition of the winning project in the Cortona On The Move festival for the year following that of the award presentation. The photographs will be printed at the expense of Associazione Culturale ONTHEMOVE and will be kept in the archive of the Associazione. The Associazione will not exhibit the prints at any other event without the full agreement of the author(s).

° one-time publication in a journal to be chosen by ONTHEMOVE

° publication in Cortona On The Move’s festival catalogue for this, and subsequent editions

  • The author(s) will also grant publication rights and use for 4 of their project images for:

° printed and web-based articles in journals selected by ONTHEMOVE
° press releases and promotional/documentary use on its proprietary websites
° promotional and documentary multimedia materials

  • Under no circumstances may ONTHEMOVE exploit the images for economic gain without the prior consent and agreement of the author(s), who will always keep the right to be credited for the work
  • Failure to accept the above regulations, either wholly or in part, will result in the immediate withdrawal of the prize and the assignment of the same to the next author in the ranking.

in short

Starts: April 16, 2018

Ends: May 27, 2018

Winner announcement: June 20, 2018

Entry fee: 10 Euros

Number of images: min 8 – max 15

2017 Edition:

Pierfrancesco Celada “Instagram Pier, Hong Kong”

2016 Edition:

Klaus Pichler “Golden days before they end”

2015 Edition:

Daesung Lee “Futuristic Archaeology”

2014 Edition:

Carla Kogelman “Ich bin waldviertel”

2013 Edition:

Albert Bonsfills “Lina and Mengchun”

2012 Edition:

Asbjorn Sand “The roll whatever”