World Renowned Photographer, Tadao Cern, Gives Us An Insight Into His Work

Lithuanian artist, Tadao Cern, has exhibited through the world and has a portfolio full of accolades. The last five years have been somewhat of a rollercoaster for the architect turned photographer with opportunities coming left right and centre: collaborations with leading brands such as BMW and Samsung and his series, Comfort Zone, going viral.

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The documentary style photography series, which you can purchase limited edition prints of here, captures sunbathers from a candid, ‘everything laid bare’, perspective. A slightly more tropical version of sitting on the tube and wondering what’s behind the steely facades of the other commuters, Tadao’s series is an insight into the variety of characters who congregate just one day.

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What to know more about the series? This is what Tado wanted to share with us:

“While spending a weekend at the seaside, I’ve 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’ve got so inspired that I had to quit what I was doing at the time and indulge into a new project. I came back the very next week with all my equipment needed for a photoshoot.

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 an absolutely different manner. Is that because everyone else around you 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.

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These photos are not staged and people did not suspect that they were photographed by me. I chose to capture images of sleeping vacationers because it accurately represents the name of the project ‘Comfort Zone’. It is only about the seaside, sunbathing and holiday somnolence that is free from a world surrounding you. I chose to showcase only the photos with hidden faces not by an accident, but to grant an observer with an opportunity to calmly scrutinize each and every detail without being distracted. It also helps to avoid empathy or connection between people in the photos and the observers. It really does not matter who they are – the details not only reveal their stories, but make us face ourselves as well.

My favorite piece is the one with the two ladies – it was my first shot and from the moment I saw it, I was convinced that I must finish this project no matter what. Even though the process was stressful and frustrating, today I can finally say that I am really happy with the end result that turned into a collection of 24 large scale prints. Images that can be seen on the internet is only a part of it and I hope that a chance will present itself for everyone to discover all of them during the exhibitions.

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Did anyone got angry? Well actually to my own surprise I got the opposite response. You are not allowed to take pictures of children under 18 year old without their parents permission. I wanted to take a picture of a child on a silver blanket so I approached his parents, explained the situation, showed some pictures of the project and they really liked the idea so they gave a permission. I get many comments how wrong it looks for some people – but my usual response is asking “why isn’t wrong to see a naked African child in National Geographic magazine?” Oh those double standards:)

Also I got a letter from a girl asking if these pictures are real… I said ‘yes’ and she told me that she found her father in one of them. Later she gave a print to him as a Christmas present which he really liked and hanged in his bedroom.

Looking at people sleeping it’s like being voyeur? No, not really:) My only goal was to document everything and not sneak, take pictures and keep them for my self. I was doing that for the viewers to raise some questions about our behavior and society habits. Seeing that these photos raise so many discussions prove that it was worth it.”

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