Tadas Kazakevicius is one of must follow documentary photographers in Lithuania. Not only because his works are recognized worldwide but also, of his brilliant ability to tell the story of the generation in just one picture. Recently, he published his new photography book “soon to be gone”, which perfectly reflects our topic of the month, “the end”. Let’s talk a little about all his projects and the secrets behind them.
What does “the end” mean to you as a creator? Is it a sad or joyful emotion?
I like to finish things. It makes my head clearer. Even though it’s very often sad, but at the same time, it gives you freedom and opens up new space for new things. Still, I believe my creative processes need to overlap each other to keep me sane if one is not going well; maybe another will, at that moment.
What kind of story are you looking for in your photographs? Is it accidental or carefully planned?
It depends. But I always hope to find things instead of constructing them. I am a creator-adventurer, so I love to find things. This way, they become very powerful.
Creating the “soon to be gone” project, you dedicated yourself to finding “it” (sleeping in the tent at the beginning, traveling by bicycle, etc.). Are you diving deep into the subject until it’s finished, or certain pauses are necessary?
When I am doing things, I am very much in the moment. I almost try to relive the whole idea behind it. Music, dreams, whatever takes. Still, I need pauses. I can’t do straight creative work. I need to shuffle things. I need some routine. And in some sense, I am lucky as my photography goes my graphic design life.
In one interview, you called yourself sentimental. For what or who you feel most sentiments?
To be honest, to whatever I am truly interested in at that moment. If it’s Lithuanian countryside – it’s some sort of odd sentiments to Great Depression-era America when it’s Curonian Spit – I am highly sentimental to little Lithuania’s issues. Industry, exile…
I love your series “between two shores” and was always wondering, how is it different (or the same) to capture nature versus a portrait? Do you feel the same doing it?
In this particular work, somehow, the portrait became a landscape and vice versa. To be honest, that was my plan to do landscape work, but it became a portrait series in the end. I can’t go far without it. Human in it. Human is the axis of all. So, in the end, it was all the same.
Somehow, I feel that “diverse Lithuania” is supposed to be a very emotional project. Was it ever too hard to take a picture, and you chose not to do it?
It was very interesting but very tiring work. Yes, it was emotionally hard in some moments, but then I wanted to tell these people’s stories, so I did not think twice.
How do you discover your next venture?
Very often, it comes unexpectedly. You find it along the way by doing things, getting interested in something. And very often in very, very ordinary things. Just keep your eyes open, and you will hear some things that repeat themselves. It means that they are asking for your attention.
Is there just one picture or a story to describe your work so far?
I suppose it might be that already iconic image of children with a dog. And it’s not straightforward because of its visual qualities. It’s mostly because it frames the sentimentality and the feeling of what I always look for.
Still, I do not believe one image fully can answer this.
Tadai, lastly, I would love to give you two questions to answer written by you. “Just one question inevitably arises: for how long will our forests and valleys be adorned by views of homesteads and villages – places where a totally different understanding of time and closeness still exists? For how long will there still be found places, where an unexpected visitor is met like a close relative, and every passer-by is greeted with a heartfelt ‘hello’?”
This question is more rhetorical than real as I really do believe that it could have been asked at any time – XIX century, the start of XX, or even now. We live in our own version of things. Every generation photographs the disappearance of whatever they photograph. So, in the end, I can say, maybe my version of rural Lithuania might disappear, but then someone else will start.☺