Photographer Audrius Solominas And His NOT Another Travel Postcard
You can hardly find anything about Audrius Solominas on the Internet – a perfect image for a person who’s always behind the camera, translating own ideas via other people’s goals to show, tell and sell. We met Audrius for a late morning coffee right outside Vilnius’ Old Town and talked about means of artsy expression in the commercial world, vision in automated professional life and parenthood in travel.
by SIMONA LAICONAITE
photographer DARIUS MARKUNAS
Audrius, tell us something about yourself.
I am a photographer. Have done a lot of work in commercial, portrait and fashion photography but cinema has been keeping my focus for the past couple of years. I work on film sites as a stills photographer, capturing backstage preparations, work and portraits. This is a whole new field for me and I seem to like it a lot for its complexity and size of the team working behind the camera. Compared to commercial photography, in film site you are rather a small part of the huge process with so many professionals involved.
This is also the field where I find myself impatient. I am used to fast results and online publishing, thus, the process of movie making keeps me learning – I have to slow down, respect the team effort and wait sometimes for even two years before I can upload a picture I love on Instagram.
How does patience and waiting work for your need to be acknowledged? What’s your relation to that?
Eventually, I want to be seen. Maybe not that much for myself as for the work that I do. If and when I work on something, I believe that I can do it and that the result may come out great. I believe that anyone in visual arts and medias has a need to be published, doesn’t matter whether it’s photography, painting or audio. No artist wants to put his work in the drawer and it’s not that much for oneself as it is for the result of one’s work. I think it is a natural need of an artist – working for the sake to have your visions and fantasies be seen in public. Would I still do photography if no one could see my work? Definitely. For instance, I bring my camera whenever I travel. And now I have a handful of stories that are all in my head and hard drives but no one has ever seen any of them. I didn’t put them on Instagram or other media. I might still be in my own searching mode, feeling what is in me for publishing and what should be still kept unrevealed. I might not be showing my works because I am still unsatisfied with the end result that I feel is worth sharing. I do know that when the feeling is right, I will most certainly share them for the public to see. But it has to be technically pleasing for me first.
Four of your printed photos appeared in Abstract Stylist’s launch party. They were a mystery for many - difficult to identify the message, textures, spaces and sizes. Could you tell us more about it?
Lina, the editor in chief, came to me with a task: Abstractus. I instantly thought that I make tones of pictures during travels and they are never postcards, never a standard that can be found among images when searching for destination photos online. I am simply not interested in standards and don’t really see the point in aiming for technical perfection while shooting those. Why would I want to take a postcard?
While there are many good travel photographs, I tend to search for yet unknown – be it textures or other matters. I am attracted to images that can hardly be identified. Just like looking at those four mentioned ones – you would be able to tell neither where they have been taken, nor whether the texture is of wood or stone, nor whether the surface is flashy or dull.
There is no great story behind those four pictures but what I really enjoy is playing and experimenting with reactions, and it really isn’t about whether they’ll “get” it or won’t. There were plenty other candidates to replace those four pictures that appeared during the launch, but I set visuality as a top target: I wanted all of them to look great together, to match with each other perfectly, despite the mystery and any message that can be seen or imagined behind it.
You might say that while I have very particular visual goals in my work as a professional, I tend to search for abstracts in my leisure photography. All is abstract when I shoot in my free time.
On the other hand, I cannot say that I am strangled by doing commercial projects. I tend to find ways to express and realise my own ideas and visions. I find means to be an artist even during a very clearly commercial task – I find inspirations in my surroundings, be it something I see, read or hear.
You bring a camera wherever you travel. What were the places that struck you the most and what are the upcoming destinations?
I have been thinking about Iceland for the past couple of years. There is something that attracts me, mostly the Northern part of the country. I also would really love visiting any desert properly – go deep into it and experience the change of personal perception. To lose my sense of space, ability to navigate and be magnified by its colours, skies, constellations. Even though I am a city person, I am attracted to the major natural phenomenon. I don’t consider myself a traveller and don’t really brag about places I have been to. But I do have great memories! One of them is from our trip to Peru – we had a five-day hike in the mountains, through glacier and jungle towards Machu Picchu. Natural surroundings drastically changed during those days, as well as our body reactions to it and to the altitude. It was also the time when I witnessed an avalanche: something I had only seen in travel shows before. This was definitely my wow moment there when I realised being a tiny part of the nature.
I once wanted to see all of the oceans. Basically, I just wanted this fact, to tick a box, so I can’t really say that I have a pattern for choosing destinations. Sometimes, it comes randomly, sometimes it comes together with a group of friends, and nowadays it comes with a need of comfort because we travel with a baby.
My first independent trip to other continent was to China with four other friends. I was nineteen then and together with other boys decided to shave my head for the journey. A year or so later I traveled to Puerto Rico, Miami and then New York with a close friend. I remember us coming to New York, booking a hotel room and standing with just seven dollars in the pocket.
What I rarely do when travelling is a search for tips and must-see places. I allow myself to explore and discover spaces, cultures and stories.
Has your daughter changed the way you look at life, travel, work and rest?
She definitely changed my perception of time. Having a child made me see how quickly a person grows and develops, and also made me put more effort into time planning in general. When it comes to travel… Now we are more likely to choose all-inclusive types. Once I am a parent, I don’t really want to worry about safety, proper food or medical availabilities. I also now put more effort into getting to know the place before we take off, not after, as I did before. This also makes us reconsider some destinations due to safety or food-related risks. As for the rest – I read a lot. Well, since my daughter was born I have read only one book, but I still consider myself being a reader. There are so many books that take me to another world, I can spend hours and hours just reading. Someone has said: when one makes a movie, there is a money limit. One has to fit well with budget, pay for the setup, actors, cameramen, etc. Meanwhile, books are limitless. A writer doesn’t have to fit in any budget, there are no restrictions for forms and contents.
And I also have this urge to learn something new, start studies in a university. I don’t want to make excuses about the lack of time - I only need to manage it right.