Tria Giovan
Tria Giovan 1978

Tria Giovan is a freelance professional photographer in New York. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and the Jewish Museum in New York. Along with working on her own projects which include Harbor Houses, Panoramics, Sagaponack Beaches, and Summer Houses, Tria has traveled extensively on assignments for many magazines such as Aperture, Art & Antiques, House Beautiful, New York Magazine, and Vogue.

Tria remembers, “My most memorable and inspiring times at Dana Hall were my classes with Scattergood in silk screening, and my first official photography class with Marjorie [Masel in 1978]. The printmaking classes helped me to develop an understanding of graphics, composition, and color sensibility. With his guidance, sensitivity and good humor, Scattergood gave me the freedom to explore these areas and learn the craft of this medium in a fun and creative manner. Marjorie’s photo class gave me a solid foundation in the traditional techniques of photography. Mastering the fundamentals of black & white developing and printing, as well as learning to see with a camera, put me in good standing for my continued studies in photography at Hampshire College, and are what I consider to be an essential beginning for any serious photographer” (E-mail).

In her senior year, Tria participated in the apprenticeship program, a program that combined academic courses with a two to four day per week apprenticeship. The idea behind the apprenticeship was to combine skills developed through a student’s course work with her interest in a particular area. Tria worked at several graphic design and silk screening companies in Boston and felt this program was instrumental in instilling confidence, independence, and adaptability. She felt “the program demanded responsibility and self-motivation in a way that was markedly different than classroom studies. These traits have been essential to my career as a freelance photographer for over twenty years” (E-mail).

Tria has fond memories of living in the great old campus houses, Grey Lodge, Brownlow, and Lazare. She enjoyed exploring the Brook Path, the aqueduct, and the topiary gardens of the Hunnewell Estate. These places were “the subjects of photographs and silk screen, as well as places where many fond and fun memories took place” (E-mail).

Tria has continued her fine art photography by working on independent projects. From 1987 to 1989 she photographed the interiors of landmarks, public and abandoned buildings, and synagogues on New York’s Lower East Side. This work was exhibited in Grand Central Station and is part of the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and the Jewish Museum. In 1990, Tria began to take photographs in Cuba and returned for eight one-month trips. These photographs were exhibited at the Dana Art Gallery in March 1994 and are included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. A photograph from this collection, Beauty Salon in Havana, 1993, was selected to be in the Cuba: Image and Imagination edition of the Fall 1995 Aperture.

Tria’s interest in Cuba was the result of growing up in the Caribbean on the island of St. Thomas. She was intrigued by the idea of Cuba being so close in distance to the United States yet so inaccessible. Tria discovered that, “Exploring the island, developing relationships, and witnessing extraordinary changes was stimulating and enchanting, as well as disheartening and disturbing. Against intricate and often melancholy backdrops, the subtleties and complexities of the day-to-day Cuba were what I was drawn to photograph” (Giovan, Cuba 7). During the five years she spent photographing the island, Tria became immersed in Cuba’s history, literature, and current events. Her book of photographs, Cuba: The Elusive Island, was published in 1996. Cuba: The Elusive Island can be found in the Alumnae Authors display case in the Helen Temple Cooke Library.


Giovan, Tria. Cuba: The Elusive Island. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996.
Giovan, Tria. E-mail interview. 9 February 2006.
Giovan, Tria. “Tria Giovan ’78.” Dana Hall Bulletin 55.1 (Spring 1994): 25.
Ponte, Antonio José. “Eyes of Havana.” Aperture 141 (Fall 1995): 4-15.
Tria Giovan, photograph. From Tria Giovan.
Originally published as Person of the Week, May 22, 2006