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Free on the beach: forgetting our inhibitions

By World Photography Organisation | 2 years ago

This blog is part of a series of exclusive interviews with the winners of United Photo Industries’ (UPI) pioneering Brooklyn-based public photography installation THE FENCE.



In 2010, Lithuanian artist Tadas Cern decided to stop being an architect and tried something new - photography. This led to his series of wind-swept portraits, 'Blow Job', a new interpretation of Van Gogh's self-portrait and a documentary photo project of beach sunbathers called 'Comfort Zone'.

He says: "I am very much interested in the comparison of different things that help me understand how media, environment or various conditions may affect viewers perception about some certain themes."


Hi Tadao. Talk to us about 'Comfort Zone' - Where and why did this project come about?

While spending a weekend at the seaside, I decided to visit a public beach that I haven't seen since I was a little boy. There I saw a possibility to recite a lot of stories only from looking at the things that people bring with them. I got so inspired that I had to quit what I was doing at the time to indulge in this new project. I came back the very next week with all my equipment needed for a photo shoot.

I started this series because I was surprised how a certain place or surrounding can affect people's behavior. During our everyday life, we attempt to hide our deficiencies, both physical and psychological. However, once we find ourselves on a beach, we forget about everything and start acting in a different manner. Is that because everyone around us is doing the same? If yes, I would love that the same rules were applied beyond the borders of the beach – people would care less about what others may think about them. I believe that this, in turn, would show how different, interesting and beautiful we truly are. The deeper you dig, the greater possibilities arise. And the more you think – the more you question and ponder.


Do you have a photographic philosophy?

Keep it clean and get rid of everything that is blocking the way for viewer's to see the main story you want to tell. 

Where in the world are you, what’s next for you?

I'm currently working and living in Vilnius, Lithuania, but traveling a lot with my other projects and exhibitions. I'm leaning a little towards contemporary and conceptual art, but photography will always stay my box of tools.