christopher capozziello – a state of mind

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Christopher Capozziello

A State Of Mind

play this essay


This story began two years ago at a funeral home in the center of my hometown in Connecticut.

I stood in a line of a thousand or so people, with my good friend Laura, and her mother Bea. As we mourned the death of our friend Vinnie, a recovering drug addict, who relapsed and died of a heroin overdose, Bea told me how Vinnie had helped Monica, her youngest daughter, detox from heroin 5 months prior. She explained how afraid she was that his death would put Monica into a tailspin. Unfortunately, that is how this story goes.

When Monica was a young child, the pastor of the church she and her family attended, allegedly molested her over a 5-year period. When she was 18, she told her family what happened. Her accusations have never been confirmed and since the offense took place so long ago, Monica’s parents cannot bring suit against the pastor. Her parents believe this explains her many years of drug abuse.

Last year, Monica became pregnant with a man she met in rehab in Florida. Monica and Kyle stayed clean for 7 months before they both relapsed; just two months before the birth of their daughter Juliette. Following the birth, they both continued to intravenously use opiates.

When the baby was born, Bea traveled to Florida to help her daughter’s transition into motherhood. While Bea was there, Kyle became extremely volatile one night, and threatened to kill Monica, yet they remain a couple. Before Bea left for Connecticut, Monica told her to take Juliette, ‘I can’t raise her like this, not while I’m using.’

Today, baby Juliette is safe with Bea and her husband Don, in Connecticut, while Monica remains in Florida. I plan to investigate deeper into the molestation allegations.



Christopher Capozziello (born 1980) is a freelance photographer and a founding member of the AEVUM photography collective.

His work is primarily about inviting the viewer into personal stories in order to understand different facets of life. His projects often make unpleasant realities beautiful, not by misleading anyone, but by allowing the viewer to stop and look more deeply at the subject.

Christopher’s work has been honored by World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, the Alexia Foundation, the Aftermath Project Grant, PDN Photo Annual, Photolucidas Critical Mass, Review Santa Fe, American Photography, Communication Arts, National Press Photographers Association, among others.

He currently lives in Milford, Connecticut, where he accepts assignments and works on long-term personal projects.


Related links

Christopher Capoziello


58 Responses to “christopher capozziello – a state of mind”

  • And you come to find out the guy with the kittens likes to beat his wife and makes passes at employees. The guy with photos of drug use is the kindest, most empathetic (there’s that word again) human you’ll ever meet. Good thing you went with the “obvious” choice.

    “People are losing jobs and not getting jobs every day because of stuff on the Internet.”


    Stop being so easily swayed by what you see on the internet. In fact, stop looking. Learn to judge people by the personal interactions you have. Learn to “read” people. What you described above is utterly childish behavior. No thinking involved.

  • Schools in many western nations are staring to set up education kits and tutorial sessions that concentrate on the pitfalls that students may encounter when using the net. They cover a wide spectrum of events, possibilities, repercussions etc including the ability of organizations to gather data for future use and their sale for both commercial and employment agencies etc.

    Jim’s kittens and drug analogy may be a bit extreme

  • In my experience someone who would disqualify you for employment over something you posted online is probably someone you would not have had a lasting relationship with anyway.

  • When looking up people in the internet, one does it to understand their “story”, to complete a picture one already has. In Jim’s example the one with the kittens could raise my suspicions, because it is not the pattern of a normal person, to have only such pictures in the net.
    The other person, however I would maybe want to talk with – to see and convince myself that a chance is well given.

    People can change, once they understood their mistakes.

    I am convinced that in the future, if looking for the pictures of people, some patterns are expected – including pictures being drunk – if they do not exist, there is some manipulated history. We are entering an era of transparency, which could become like a raw file in photography. I don’t know, which is better.

  • Photograph: The living room of an apartment,
    the barrio, San Francisco.

    Blankets are nailed to all the windows, a single light bulb
    illuminates a gaunt man sitting on a stool. He is naked
    except for a white pair of boxer shorts. He is injecting
    himself in his right arm but his attention is not on this;
    around his head is a contraption made from jeweller’s
    glasses and Velcro, a small metal arm juts out from the
    left of this machine on which a safety pin has been glued,
    on the end of the pin he has impaled a cockroach.
    Focus. Shoot. Wait.

    Photograph: time unknown.

    Foreground, a young man shirtless, tattooed, faces a
    mirror with his teeth bared, metal wires are entwined
    through his teeth to clamp his jaws together, in his right
    hand, which is raised to his mouth, he holds a red-
    handled pair of wire cutters.

    Photograph: colour.

    Top of the frame a girl’s bowed head, her left arm extends to
    the forefront, it is covered in a series of precise lacerations,
    in her right hand she holds a pair of surgical tweezers
    with which she is pulling from one of the lacerations a
    small green aphid.

    Photograph: evening.

    Monterey pier, interior of a camper van shot from the
    front, and in the background on both sides of the van
    are piled cages containing dogs. In the driver’s seat an
    overweight man leans over the thighs of a young boy, one
    hand is pulling up the boys white t-shirt, the boy’s head is
    tilted back staring at the roof, his right arm rests outside
    the passenger window, a burning cigarette between two

    -Christopher Wilson, Horse latitudes.

    Do we even need cameras?

  • Beautiful, disturbing photographs, and fascinating conversation. I’ll throw in another angle: perhaps the very act of Monica being photographed by Christopher and then the photos being published could be a catalyst (or at least an aid) for her to go clean, a mirror being held up so to speak, that trumps in the moment any imagined employer rejecting her in the future. For if she doesn’t clean up then there won’t even be the the possibility of getting rejected – there will only be death (or at least a form of living death).

    Photos #6 and #12 definitely add to the story of contemporary drug use in this country. #13 speaks volumes about this family being torn apart by it.

  • Just gotta say, that first photograph is beautiful, no matter what the context.

  • Some who comment on these photo essays could be guilty of perhaps a little too much intellectual wanking. This is especially the case when the subject matter is painful to look at, or doesn’t tell a happy story. Critical thinking is good when it comes from the best intentions but good intentions can be really lacking online. It’s all too easy to be the judge and the jury with a click of a mouse. And then it goes on and on, until the message of the work is lost in a pretentious pissing match.
    Christopher, the essay is strong. Glad to hear its continuing. You know, more than anyone, how the subjects of your story really feel. It’s obvious from your response,you’ve given it deep thought.

Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.