Poetic, intimate, and slow – these could describe the taste you get after hearing-seeing-feeling visual stories Neringa Sunday (Neringa Greiciute) tells us in her photographs. In our millennial culture, Sundays are usually dedicated to whatever and chill, and I can see some resemblance here with the shots Neringa Sunday takes. Perfect tranquillity. However, it seems like the stories that the artist captures is the only slow thing in Neringa’s life. All the rest is full of moving (from one apartment to another) and wandering through the streets of Tokyo. Or the emotions of people who become her visual stories.
So, Neringa, how did photography happen in your life?
I think for most people, many things happen in life by accident, chance, or provoked luck. My brother bought a photo camera, and I started using it, resold it, bought a better one and so it all started.
You capture weddings, trips all around the world, and your days in France. Is it your permanent home or more of an in-between stop?
Today France is my legal home, but I feel nothing is permanent in life. I have changed so many addresses. In Paris alone, I have moved in and out 20 times in 4 years. I haven’t lived in any place longer than four years since I moved out of my parents home, and haven’t lived in the same apartment for longer than a year during these last nine years of my life.
What’s the most shocking about living there – would you prefer muting it or getting the maximum from this experience?
French people eat so many baguettes! I am joking. I do not think there is anything genuinely shocking about France as a country or French people in particular. I have faced some personal challenges in co-living with French people that led me to expand my boundaries and honestly made me curious (even though I was very stubborn at times). But I guess everybody who has lived abroad or just in a very different environment from where they come from has likely faced similar challenges.
Do you often find yourself experiencing cultural shock while traveling? What’s the cost or the benefit of it?
I don’t feel I’ve experienced cultural shock except for obvious cultural differences when traveling in countries such as India or Japan. There are also daily traveling challenges like jet lag, canceled trains, food poisoning, back pain, long waiting hours. I must sound like an old lady now.
But traveling makes you more open and flexible. I have learned to adapt to many different environments and situations. I have slept in many yoga positions, showered in the barn with a bucket, hitchhiked through cities, met beautiful, generous people, and I am truly grateful for every one of these experiences. But I have equally faced the challenge of redefining my boundaries, understanding the things that have become too much for me. Also, what my true values are, and many times I have felt lost endless facing possibilities of what life can ultimately offer. It can be enriching and exhausting at the same time.
After these exhausting experiences, what calms your mind and soul best?
Having slow mornings, relaxing in a bath (this one is not a very eco-friendly way to calm down), and watching Friends (yes, I still watch Friends).
Share the most shocking shot you ever took with us. Be it the image itself, a series of photographs, or the story behind it.
I like to think that I do not take shocking pictures, but I want to take photos in my intimate environment of people that I share close and intense relationships. Often I am surprised how it radiates their deep inner energies even though in that present moment, I could not grasp it. These images are occasional windows to their internal suffering, fragility, vulnerability, fear, or courage.
And what about exploring these windows in the future?
I have a couple of photo projects circling in my mind. One being a prolongation of Sebastian Lifshitz’s book “Mauvaise genre.” I would like to explore creating portraits of people who can be defined as unisex, who have features or express themselves in ways that can not be strictly categorized as male or female and ultimately break the normality of those definitions. Another project is the idea of giving all people the possibility to create their portrait in the way how they would imagine themselves if they had absolute freedom.