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Jaina Cipriano


Domestic terror and bliss

I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian cult and was kept separate from the world (both physically and emotionally). Looking through the viewfinder was a way to embrace that separation and make it work for me. Through human to lens connection I was able to begin reintegrating myself in the world. The camera gave me purpose, a reason to be somewhere and to talk to people. The camera is a powerful tool.

There is a moment I think of a lot. You are feeling broken, like something unknown and dark is wrong with you. You are afraid to even speak it outloud. But then your friend is there, on the ground with you, telling you that she sees and understands your unique, secret pain. And suddenly, it all feels lighter.

That moment is what I create for. I put a piece of me into these photos and hope that those who feel similarly, who need a mirror to their darkness, see it and feel less alone.

I am exploring the emotional toll of religious and romantic entrapment. My worlds communicate with our neglected inner child and are informed by explosive colors, elements of elevated play and the push/pull of light and dark.

It is a way of changing my internal narrative. When things are not going the way I want them to in my real life, I can use photography as a little bit of psychomagic. It is a safe space for me to open up, be present and trust the process. It is practicing a life philosophy on a macro level, almost, a trial run if I feel too fragile to apply it to my real life.

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