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Joyana Samsel

Hello! I’m Joyana (joy.an.a)

With 20 years of portrait photography under my belt, my passion lies in capturing people's authenticity. I hope I've conveyed that same passion with my project @TemplesbyJoyana. My mom's always said, "Joyana, you've been through so much; you should write a book." She's not wrong; like many of us, I've had more than my share of front-row seats at life's trials concert. Enough trials that I've given talks and spoken at women's conferences on how to navigate them. And just when I thought we were done, there came a trial so profound that I found myself pleading for peace and light in the darkest of times.

Instead of writing a book, I offer you a piece of what helped me. The temple grounds became my sanctuary, a place of solitude, peace, and light. I could go there alone, sit on a bench, and gather the strength to face life. Through my camera, I aimed to capture that sense of serenity, peace, and radiance. I challenged myself to bring it home for a daily reminder and, ultimately, to share it with all of you.

Each artistic rendition of the temple seeks to provide solitude by removing distractions while honoring its original design. Peace is found in the choice of a consistent, gentle color palette that embraces a natural, textured look and the timeless character that all great art should possess. The luminance and radiance in each image aim to infuse a heavenly ambiance into your living space.

We began with just one temple, then expanded to five, and now, nearly three years in, we're on track to photograph our 45th temple this fall. Our simple Etsy shop offers over 450 digital images, giving you the creative freedom to place a 5x7 on your desk or a statement piece as large as 42x56 on your wall. Our Instagram and Etsy keep you updated on new temples, travel and photography tips, along with the fun and sentimental moments, as well as some behind-the-scenes adventures. From a 4am train ride to Nauvoo to drool-worthy BBQ in Dallas, sprinting to catch a flight only for them to say "just kidding," navigating a Mississippi flood, meeting exceptional people (and a few eccentrics), and yes, accidentally squatting into a cactus for the best shot of the Rexburg temple – I'd love for you to join us and get to know you!

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