Portrait of Early
Members of the early Generation Z were born between 1995 and 2001. I myself was born in 1998 and the creation of this project was inspired by my own reflections on the relationship with time. Raising my own existential questions — what have I achieved being 22 years old? what else should I achieve in the future? why am I who I am? — I try to find my answers through looking at peers with whom I have interacted in real or digital space. The young people who I chose to involve in the project are members of my generation and I notice that our lives are related and intertwined in numerous ways. We subconsciously feel a sense of commonality, we are united by the memory of young Lithuania, freedom, the desire to explore the world and make sense of our existence. As we go through the same stage of life, we realise that we are becoming adults and starting to feel responsible for our lives and the world. Therefore, as we develop in individual areas of interest, we create the actual reality of our time and our own. What unites us as members of the early Generation Z?Inevitably, it is technology that we grew up with. Computers, phones, the internet and large amounts of information change our way of thinking and interacting. It is easier for us to understand and create visual as opposed to written content, we are able to multitask, however, we have a short attention span. Technological changes create new forms of self-expression - almost each of us have a virtual version of our personalities expressed on various social media platforms. We are representatives of global culture - technology makes the world seem small and familiar, we are aware of what is happening all around the world and we are able to find similarities and relate to people of different nationalities. Generation Z is the first generation in Lithuania to choose to study abroad on such a massive scale. However, after talking to the people photographed in this project, who are studying at foreign universities, many of them consider Lithuania as their home and are determined to return after their studies. The Lithuanian Generation Z could also be called the Generation of Freedom we were raised by parents who fought for the independence of Lithuania.
We are also connected by the memory of a young, free Lithuania, a country that has just regained its independence and has not yet joined the European Union. The ideas, popular culture and tendencies of that time formed the national and aesthetic identity of young people (this topic is being analysed in more detail on my instagram account @90s_Lithuania where I archive and examine Lithuanian aesthetics of the 90s). Traditional values, such as nature, home and family, remain in the minds of Generation Z. When asked where they would like to be captured, many of them chose either nature, in which they feel peace, or home, where they grew up and feel safe. Basically, our generation could be considered dual - modern, technology-dependent, but also romantic, appreciating tradition and nature, as well as showing an interest in the past. This duality takes place because our generation lives in a semi-real and semi-virtual reality. It is particularly easy to confuse the two realities - such a life is strange and unstable - so the questions that I address in this project provide an insight into the foundations of the actual reality and the essential features of our generation. Members of my generation depicted in this project were born between 1995 and 2001. Each of them was photographed in their own chosen location, which was supposed to reveal what contributed to the formation of their personality. For one it is a village in which childhood summers were spent, for another it is a district of Vilnius in which strange synthesis of different architectural styles is revealed and for the third it is a family house where inner peace is found. Each of the portraits is accompanied by a caption, which briefly describes the person’s childhood, current occupation, why they chose to be photographed in that specific location and how they see theirs and their generation’s future.
Augusta Fišerytė, born in 1998. Augusta is an architect, who finished Architecture studies at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. Her father Jokūbas Fišeris is also an architect. Therefore Augusta chose her father’s architecture studio in Vilnius, where she used to observe him at work as a child and grew to admire architecture as a profession. Augusta is engaged in conceptual and sustainable architecture that contributes to preservation of the environment and tranquility of the human psychological state.
Haja Pham, born in 1998. Haja was born and raised in Vilnius. Both of her parents are Vietnamese. They came to Lithuania during the last years of the Soviet occupation. Haja went to a Russian school. Growing up she found it hard to understand what is her nationality and homeland. Haja chose to be photographed in Vilnius at her home, where western interior style intertwines with eastern tradition. At the moment, Haja is still trying to find herself. She pays a lot of attention to learning about the human body because she believes that one’s body, mind and emotions are interconnected. This is especially relevant now, when the society is using vast information resources, which affect ways of thinking, worldview and mental state.
Oskaras Kazlauskas, born in 1995. Oskaras was born and raised in Kaunas. His parents encouraged him to do sports and when he was 13 he developed interest in windsurfing. In his teenage years he discovered another area of interest dear to his heart - filmmaking. In Middlesex University in United Kingdom Oskaras finished film directing studies. When he came back to Lithuania, he started working as both - filmmaker and windsurfing instructor. His portrait was taken on the shore of the Kaunas lagoon - where he first started windsurfing. During the photoshoot, he stood up on a chair because, as he put it, he likes to look at the world from another angle, from above. The theme of height is important in his work - Oskaras has created a short film about how he and his friend climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.
Jonas Balsevičius, born in 2001. Jonas was born and raised in Vilnius. He was inspired to take interest in visual arts by his uncle, who works with photography and videography. He was also the one who gifted Jonas his first film camera “Hasselblad”. Now Jonas is mostly occupied with photography and curating art events. His portrait was taken in Vilnius, in the yards of loft blocks in Ševčenka street, where his love for coffee and photography began. This eclectic location represents Jonas’s interdisciplinary art practice, which is centred around photography. At the moment, Jonas is studying Fine Art Photography at the University of the Arts London.
Beatričė Marcinkevičiūtė, born in 1998. Beatričė was born in Vilnius. She went to American, Irish, Jesuit and Jewish schools. She has previously lived in Dublin and now lives in New York, where she studies psychology and art history at Columbia University. Beatričė states that she studies psychology to better understand human nature and art history - to perceive ideas that prevailed at different times of human history. Her portrait was taken at her home in Vilnius, specifically, in the pool because her zodiac sign is Pisces and she enjoys swimming. Beatričė analysed her choice in a Freud-like manner and revealed that she feels good in the water because of her very close connection with her mother. The water subconsciously reminds her of her mother’s wound, which provides a sense of security.
Beatričė Brėdikytė, born in 1999. Beatričė was born and raised in Vilnius. Her grandfather Vytautas Brėdikis is a famous architect of the Soviet times; he designed the Lazdynai district. At the moment, Beatričė is studying Fashion Imaging and Illustration at University of the Arts London. Now, Beatričė’s main occupation is conceptual visual art projects that promote preservation of nature. Her portrait was taken at the Dzūkija National Park, where her family owns an old village house. Beatričė states that her personality was mostly influenced by the beauty of Lithuanian nature and somewhat by the global capitalist culture.
Miglė Palkevičiūtė, born in 1999. Miglė was born and raised in Vilnius. In her childhood, Miglė went to music as well as art school. She spent her teenage years modelling in Europe and Asia. While travelling around the world Miglė felt a strong longing for her home city Vilnius and Lithuanian nature. Miglė’s portrait was taken at her home, where one can see an extraordinary panoramic view of Vilnius, the culture of which made the greatest impact on her worldview. At the moment, Miglė is studying composition of electronic music at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. In her work, Miglė tries to combine elements of contemporary music and Lithuanian folk motifs to introduce the world to the unique culture of her homeland
Rokas Kunigėlis, born in 1995. Rokas is a fourth-generation Kaunas citizen.
His great-grandfather Jonas Murauskas was a typographer and a photographer. His
great-grandfather, who was born in 1913, often told stories about Kaunas inteligentsia of the Interwar and his naturalist Tadas Ivanauskas. Inspired by the personality of T. Ivanauskas, Rokas became interested in nature himself and chose to get his Bachelor’s degree in Forestry at Vytautas Magnus University. Rokas is currently getting his Master’s degree of the same field in Sweden. As well as that, he is also one of the curators of the “Girion.lt” project. Therefore, it is no surprise that Rokas chose to be photographed by the Tadas Ivanauskas’s summer house in Obelynė, where he spent a lot of time improving his professional skills and investigating the dendrological collection.
Danielius Tuzikas, born in 2000. Danielius was born and raised in Visaginas. Danielius is Russian, he went to a Russian school, however, he speaks fluently Lithuanian. Danielius graduated from Vilnius Juozas Tallat-Kelpša’s conservatory. Growing up he spent a lot of time with his mother and sister observing how they dressed and created their personal style. This connection with the women of his family and his interest in visual arts helped him discover the world of fashion. Danielius is currently studying Communication at Vilnius University of Applied Sciences and working as a freelance stylist. Danielius’s portrait was taken next to the eclectic Slavic church, which is located in between apartment buildings in Visaginas. It is where Danielius used to come to pray with his family when he was a little boy.
Grėtė Beatričė Tautavičiūtė, born in 1998. Grėtė was born and raised in Vilnius. Her mother is a doctor. Grėtė is currently studying medicine at Vilnius University and is planning to specialise in the field of psychiatry. Her dream is to open a centre, where she would integrate psychiatric and meditational methods, along with yoga, to help people find peace of mind in nature. Talking about Generation Z, Grėtė highlights that young people live surrounded by excess information, where it is especially easy to get lost. When asked where she would like to be photographed, Grėtė chose her home. According to Grėtė, stylistically congested interior reflects the world as it is - dominated by chaos. In the photograph, she sits on her parents bed wearing a kimono, which her mother brought from Japan. As she put it, the kimono symbolises the role that family plays in forming one’s personality.
Teodoras Šaulys — born in 1998. Teodoras was born and raised in Vilnius. As a child he spent a lot of time in nature with his father and grandfather. According to Teodoras, nature made him realise what a beautiful world we live in. At the moment, he is studying Software Engineering at Vilnius University. When he was sixteen, Teodoras discovered analogue photography and started taking photos of his city. Using the double exposure technique, he intertwines Vilnius’s nature and urban motifs revealing new and unexpected implications of the city. His portrait was taken in the Šnipiškės district, in Vilnius, where he currently resides. In his photographs, Teodoras combines contrasting eclectic visuals, whilst in Šnipiškės, right next to old wooden cottage houses rise tall glass skyscrapers.
Ema Žemionytė — born in 1998. Ema was born and raised in Vilnius. Although she was raised a Catholic, Ema describes herself as a spiritual atheist. Ema is now studying medicine at Vilnius University. In the future, she is planning to specialise in dermatology and trichology. Ema sees medicine as a very purposeful path because it helps people become healthier and happier. Ema was born a male, however, since a very early age she felt out of place. When she was 15, Ema accepted herself for what she is. Just recently, she legally changed her gender from male to female. When asked where she would like to be photographed, Ema chose the stairway of Vilnius University Faculty of Medicine, which symbolises her journey uphill, towards accomplishing her goals. Behind her, one can see a mural that visualises human anatomy. This art piece symbolically encapsulates Ema’s transformation and journey of finding her true self.