Atomic Rebel 2020
In collaboration with stylist Daniil Tuzikas
Visaginas, founded in 1975, is the youngest city in Lithuania, where the builders and employees of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant had moved and lived. The people were educated professionals, of similar age but different cultures, coming from various republics of the Soviet Union. The ethnic culture of the city to this day remains extremely diverse - the majority consists of Russians, but Visaginas is as well inhabited by Ukrainians, Latvians, Poles, Gudians, Armenians, Tatars, Georgians, Uzbeks and others. The intertwined cultural traditions of the different people living in the city have shaped the youth to have a distinctive view of the world. In the early years of 21st century various subcultures emerged, which resulted in the youngsters of Visaginas being known for their expressive style as well as revealing their identity through clothing, image and behavior. The stylist of the project is Daniil Tuzikas, who comes from Visaginas as well. The idea to create the photoshoot occurred to him during the lockdown in Spring of 2020 while back home in Visaginas, browsing through old family albums. He then discovered numerous photographies of his older sister Anastasia’s adolescence from the early 2000s. According to Daniil, his sister was one of the most admired and appreciated girls during her youth years in Visaginas. She got along well with her peers from various cultural groups. Anastasia's style was inspired by Visaginas youth subcultures, global trends of that time and world-famous musicians such as Britney Spears, Shakira, Avril Lavigne, T.A.T.U., Beyonce. She loved experimenting and was extremely rebellious – tended to rip her tights, disagreed with her parents, constantly ditched school and skipped classes, enjoyed many parties and gatherings with friends and acquaintances. Nevertheless, she was loved and admired by most in Visaginas. Anastasia, as an older sister, inspired Daniil's interest in fashion and supported him in becoming a stylist. Project "Atomic Rebel of Visaginas" is an homage to Anastasia through recreation of her fashion style during the youth years. The project also explores Anastasia’s side of the story about the unusual and multicultural city of Visaginas. Having shared his story about the childhood and teenage years in Visaginas together with Anastasia, Daniil invited the photographer Elena Krukonytė to visit his hometown. Walking around the districts of Visaginas, they discovered the unexpected juxtapositions of architectural styles, whereas watching the pedestrians of the city’s streets they were faced with distinguished types of people. Talking to Anastasia herself, the creators of the project learned more about the early 2000s, when young people did not have mobile phones in their possession and were not constantly occupying themselves with social media and the internet. Meanwhile, youth gatherings took place at school, at parties or in the woods involving underage drinking. They used to gossip about the Russian pop culture goddesses such as singers T.A.T.U. and Glucoza and were breaking the rules enforced by their parents. When working together, Daniil Tuzikas and Elena Krukonytė created a photography project that reveals the culture of a small city from the perspective of a young, rebellious girl and tells the story of a young individual who is no longer a child, but not yet an adult. As the fashion circle turns, surprisingly, the 2000s trends are relevant today, in 2021.