Jana Romanova is a documentary photographer, based in Saint-Petersburg. She was born in 1984 in Russia, and got a degree in journalism from Saint-Petersburg State University. Currently she works with photography and video to investigate the theme of collective identities, focusing on the territory of post-Soviet countries. As a photographer she challenges herself with experiments, where she becomes a part of different communities, questions her own identity and explores photography as contemporary instrument of power.
Her long-term documentary projects were selected for a number of international exhibitions and festivals such as Encontros da Imagem (Braga, Portugal), the Backlight Festival (Tampere, Finland), Encuentros Abietros Festival (Buenos Aires, Argentina) “Perchance to Dream” at Andrea Meislin Gallery (New York, USA), “New Saint-Petersburg” at Nieuw Dakota Gallery (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), etc. She got several prizes and honorable mentions in photography all over the world.
Ophidiophobia, a fear of snakes, is one of the most common animal phobias in European
countries, but at the same time there are many people who keep snakes as pets at home. In
Russia it became possible and relatively popular after the fall of the Soviet Union. Mostly there are
pythons, corn snakes, gopher snakes and kingsnakes, but sometimes even cobras and other
venomous snakes, almost all of them considered as exotic for our country. Often people who start
with one snake later decide to get another one and even more, starting their own collection that
sometimes may count more than 20 species.
In these photographs snakes are part of typical Russian environments where they live with their
owners. This project began as a study of my own lifetime fear of snakes, a way to look into a
nature of horror, an existential nightmare in which all common objects of daily life are becoming
dangerous because they may hide a snake behind them.
It is a story of relationships between snakes and people, a relationships in which a snake is not
able to share love and affection to a human being, as well as existential horror, as it’s still not clear
how snakes see us – either as warm trees or a potential food. On another layer it’s a study of
photography as a medium for collecting and observing exotic things, a field in which both snakes
and post-Soviet environment may seem subjects of interest.
Young Russian couples from Saint-Petersburg and Moscow, are asleep in their bedrooms. It is early in the morning, when no one really cares about their appearance. In a few months they will parents, “Waiting” investigates not only their attitude towards each other during this period of expecting, but also how one lives in modern Russia, 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, a country that their children will only through from history books…
AZBUKA, THE ALPHABET OF SHARED WORDS (2014)
In March 2014 the tension between Russia and Ukraine started to escalade due to the situation in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Maidan Square quickly became the symbol of this conflict and Jana Romanova asked different people, who came to the square to take part in the revolution, to think of a word which is absolutely the same both in Russian and Ukrainian. A word which she would then photograph — to make a sort of an ABC, based on the idea that the understanding of two population starts with the language, and language starts with the alphabet…
Exploring the concept of beauty and femininity in today’s modern society, Jana Romanova explores in this series of portraits what “feminity” means for different young women. They choose a pose for a portrait, while Jana stands in the background mimicking these notion of “feminity”…
Sevastopol, Crimea, has always been a seed of discord on the political arena because of it’s prominent location on the Black Sea. Here Jana asks the youth to speak about their political position further to the referendum during which Sevastopol voted almost 100% in favour of joining Russia. “Immerse” questions the way one lives in a city and how the past history which is reflected in its architecture affects its inhabitants’ self-identity.