LOS ANGELES—SocialDocumentary.net, a website that features photographic documentaries by artists from around the world, has selected Armenian photographer Ara Oshagan as the featured photographer for January 2014, featuring Oshagan’s photo exhibit on the California prison system, entitled, “A Poor Imitation of Death.”
Since 1995, Ara Oshagan has been photographing and recording the oral histories of survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. This work has been published in the LA Sunday Magazine, exhibited at the Downey Museum of Art, and was featured in an NPR Morning Edition story. His work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Yerevan, Armenia.
For over eight years, Oshagan photographed extensively in Nagorno-Karabagh for “Father Land,” a book project with his father, well-known author Vahe Oshagan. Featured in Photo District News, the book was published in 2010 by powerHouse books in New York. “Father Land” was exhibited at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in 2010 and at the powerHouse Arena Gallery in New York.
In 2001, Oshagan received a California Council on the Humanities Major Grant to photograph the Armenian experience of Los Angeles. This work, “Traces of Identity,” was exhibited at the LA Municipal Art Gallery in 2004 and throughout 2005 at the Downey Museum of Art. The exhibit was reviewed in Art Papers and artcircles.com and featured in the LA Times, LA Weekly and LA Magazine’s “Top 10 Things to do in LA” in 2004.
His next book project, and the series featured for January at SocialDocumentary.net, is “A Poor Imitation of Death,” a collaborative portrait of youth in the California prison system. This work grew out of the Leslie Neale’s documentary film, “Juvies.”
In 2012, Oshagan was invited to speak at the TEDx Yerevan event, presenting a talk on “The Documentary Image as Identity.” That same year, he joined a group of 16 artists from across the globe for the Shushi Art Project in the town of Shushi in Nagorno-Karabagh. Oshagan’s work is in the permanent collection of the Southeast Museum of Photography in Florida, the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, Downey Museum of Art in Downey, California, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Yerevan, Armenia.