In 2012 we welcomed the popular photographer Greta Tuckute to the Nonsense Society, exploring her delicate photographic portraits. Since then she has evolved and grown as an artist. In particular, she has explored darker themes and sides of people. We wanted to get back in touch with Greta, ask her some questions, and find out what’s changed and where she is today.
NS: It’s been a while since we featured your work on the Nonsense Society. Can you tell us what has changed/evolved for you in the time since?
GT: I would say that I have become more confident concerning my photographic style, my view on aesthetics and possibly myself in general – that is a completely natural part of growing older though. I am more aware of prioritizing and planning my time to make the most of it. In terms of photography a few things has changed, however it does not really feel that way. It has gone from almost only shooting friends and family, to mainly shooting people with some model experience. My number of followers on social medias has gone from a two-digit number to a four-digit number. Besides these things I would not really say anything has changed – I still have the same passion and eagerness about photography and likewise it still makes me genuinely happy.
How old are you? Are you currently studying at a University? What has that experience been like?
I turned eighteen last autumn. I am currently at my last year in high school and I will finish in a few months. It feels extremely surreal! I have come to realize that education actually means a lot to me. I find it both important and meaningful to keep learning. I have never felt that I wasted my time in a classroom. I am sure I would love going to university, however I still have to figure out what I want to study! The problem is not to find something interesting – it is more eliminating possibilities that makes it difficult.
Why are you working in black and white a lot? Do you find black and white more powerful in certain ways? Why?
Yes, generally I find black and white more powerful in portraiture than colours. Undoubtedly some photos are definitely best in colour, but I mostly find myself working with black and white. It is simple, graphic and clean.
What has been one of the most significant things in your growth as an artist? we’ve seen your success and popularity growing so much in the past year. What have you seen from your perspective? Was there a point in time or piece that changed things for you?
Quite specifically I remember one of my photos from my 52 weeks project; “Wanderlust”. I was not really sure whether I liked it or not, but I ended up posting it anyway Sunday evening. When I checked my account the following day, it had more than 300 likes. I updated the site again and again, because I was completely certain of it being a technical error. It turned out that it was not. Moreover, I accidently stumbled upon the photo on Tumblr, where it had more than 100,000 notes. It seemed so bizarre and absolutely amazing at the same point of time. I simply could not believe it.
Another turning point was an article on the front page on one of Lithuania’s biggest online medias. It received a lot of attention – naturally both positive as well as negative. I was completely overwhelmed by the positive feedback, however a large part of the responses were negative. I actually thought that it would affect me a lot, but I was surprised to see that it did not. It is always easy to criticize when you have not faced somebody’s situation. It might be wrong to say – however necessary, I think – but I know how much I have worked to achieve my accomplishments so far. Some people were quite prejudiced, and put down my work tremendously. I am definitely not asking for everybody to like what I do, but I came to understand that when you know that you have worked hard towards something, critique does not strike that bad.
Do you have any big goals and dreams as a creative photographer? Where would you like to be and what would you like to do with your creative life?
My hobbies have usually been extremely fleeting, but somehow photography really caught my attention at the age of thirteen. Photography was basically my thing, which I was really lucky to realize quite early. I could never give up photography; it is a completely regular part of my life. Honestly, I really cannot grasp where I want to end up – which I am somewhat thankful of! My life would be boring if everything was set and I knew where I wanted to go. I try to enjoy the freedom and independence that is a part of being young. I am always trying to do my best and likewise I am really ambitious as a creative photographer. I am dedicated to photography only because of the fact that it feels right. Where it might take me? I have absolutely no idea.
Who are your biggest inspirations? Artists? Musicians? Filmmakers?
It might not be the most obvious link to photography; nevertheless I am very inspired by universes created by certain authors. Lately I have been extremely fascinated by Haruki Murakami and Franz Kafka. I would definitely not mind discussing a few subjects with these two men over a cup of coffee, haha! Unfortunately that might not be really realistic… Besides that artists like Hedi Slimane and Tim Burton are a never-ending source of inspiration and creative ideas!
What’s your experience like with the models you work with? Are they friends? What’s your relationship like with them while shooting?
It is a luxury working with professional models. All the models I have worked with have been so kind, friendly and talented. In short, a pleasure. The relationship seems natural – we have actually often been of the same age. I always look forward to shooting models – besides making great photos, I have a really good time.
Can you describe your creative process from conception, to creation, to perfection/editing?
It all starts with being inspired by someone or something. I find photos, drawings, illustrations and maybe even people that portray the essence of the idea. Then I often spend a while choosing a model. The model has to go perfectly with the concept and it has to be a person that I find inspiring to shoot. A talented stylist/make-up artist is likewise a significant contributing factor in creating a unique final product. After the shoot I spend some days editing. I usually do not edit more than two or three hours in a row, because I simply become blind to what looks good and bad. It is an extremely ambiguous feeling to finish a shoot! You have spent many days of planning, researching, shooting and editing and finally you are finished. It is both fantastic and odd to finish everything off, because basically you could keep polishing and making everything look perfect. But that is definitely not what I am striving for!
What is your current favorite piece? Why is it your favorite? What’s the significance for you?
That is a really tough one. I think I would have to say a photo from the top of Kilimanjaro. An early sunrise seen from the world’s highest freestanding mountain. After six days of hiking we finally reached the summit and the moment was worth it all. It cannot be described with words: It was divine; everything made perfectly sense while tears ran down my cheeks in the cold air.
We ask this of everyone: Can you give some advice to all the young artists in our society who look up to you?
It fills me with happiness when other young artists contact me because they have found my work inspiring and have led them to take a step further. That is so important and I am extremely thankful for that. My advice would be to stay true to your own view on arts and keep your feet firmly on the ground. My experience is that when I have done something only for the sake of others and compromised too much, it has not turned out the way I wanted it to. Follow your own wishes, ideas and aims. Also, enjoy the process. I know that I tend to become too focused on the goal, and forgetting to appreciate the way getting there. I have to remind myself of being content while creating, considering and maybe doing nothing at all – it is all a part of reaching a final destination.
See her recent feature by our friends at Atlas Magazine.