Jillian Medugno: No Strings Attached Interview

1_Full House

“Full House”

Photographer, Jillian Medugno, uses ten images from a series called No Strings Attached to portray her struggle with being controlled & manipulated, & the journey to break free. In Jillian’s own words, “No Strings Attached is a realization I made about myself within the last few years. I am both the puppet & willingly the puppet master, controlled by a stronger force of societies ‘standards’. I used to put on these acts of how I thought I was supposed to look, dress, & act causing myself emotional & physical harm. The climax of this series is where I find myself drowning in my own confusion of who I really was, & how I had the strength to pick myself up. I was able to cut the strings, become an individual, & act as myself. Finally.”

Jillian Medugno was born just north of Boston where she’s grown up her entire life.  In 2008 Jill moved to Tampa for college where she graduated with a bachelors degree in Arts Administration and Management, & not a clue what to do with that degree. Jill then decided to go to photography school. In 2012 Jillian Medugno started at the New England School of Photography and took her passion for photography and made it a reality. Jill is mainly a commercial photographer with a focus on food. Jill currently shoots dining reviews & a few features here & there for the Improper Bostonian Magazine, where she currently interns.


“Control Freak”

Laura Knapp: Many of these photos feature you as a puppet on a stage, but the other half feature you in an empty white room. What’s the difference between the two environments? What does each setting change for you?

Jill Medugno: The stage scenes are meant to show how my actions & how I was on the surface, to others. The image “Drowning” for example was a time in my life where I was on the verge of overcoming what I was feeling, yet I was harmful to myself at the same time. So I left it up to the viewer on how they see the image. Whether I was pulling myself out of this feeling or pushing myself deeper. However you see it, you see it.


“Puppet Master”

While the blank white wall scenes are more of a “Behind the Scenes” look of what I am feeling inside. For example with the image “Broken”, that is showing a part of me not knowing how I feel about cutting the so called strings of my life. But at the same time a sense of pride in myself with being able to let go.




LK: Were these photos a reaction to how you felt at the time of creation or was it a cumulation of all your struggles over the course of your life?

JM: This series was about my insecurities growing up.  They tell a story & the end of the series is happening in my life right now. I grew up super self-conscious and I did have times where people would validate how I was feeling about myself, and that just made my insecurities sink a little deeper. However, I surrounded myself around people who in my eyes were perfect & their insecurities about themselves made me shoot mine down even further. I had a hard time, & the past two years I have been surrounding myself with such amazing people, much different from where I was before, and they showed me how to open up & to just be myself. Because those who care about you will like you for the person you are. I finally get that. I am so happy.

“Cutting the Cord”

LK: Did you feel like the process of creating these images made it easier to accept yourself?
JM: I kind of feel like it is a back & forth battle. I created these images because I found it as a way for me to let people in since I have never been good at expressing my feelings. But at the same time, I think to myself “are people going to look at me differently now?”
I honestly feel this is a battle a lot of teens & young adults face, & its really sad we can’t watch TV or look at a magazine without feeling there was something wrong with how we look compared to these fictional airbrushed figures we see everywhere. To answer your question though, as of today, I do feel like doing this project allowed me to be able to talk about my feelings, as well as accept myself for who I am.

“Exit Stage Right”

LK: Who are some of your biggest inspirations for creating this work?
JM: I was really inspired by Kahn & Selesnick. They are so amazingly creative & unique!
LK: I know that you do a lot of food/advertising photography. Do you see any correlation between this project and your more commercial work?
JM:  I think that my food photography is a lot more straight forward, where as this series is much more personal & deeper. No Strings Attached shows a side of me I rarely express.
10_End Scene
LK: Is this a finished project or do you see yourself continuing it in the future?

JM:  This project is finished.  I honestly felt like as I was putting together the last image, I was watching the curtains close on my struggles as well as the series.  

To see more of Jillian Medugno’s photography please visit: jillianmedugno.com

One thought on “Jillian Medugno: No Strings Attached Interview

  1. Pingback: Autumn Playlist 2014 | She is Sure

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