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Gallery

Photographed asleep on the beach, the vacationers in photographer Tadao Cern's series “Comfort Zone” show how endearing we all can be when we just lie down and let loose.

Tadao Cern is a Lithuanian photographer based in Vilnius, where he runs the studio TadaoCern.

Prior to “Comfort Zone,” Cern completed the well-received series “Blow Job” for which he made portraits of people with a high-powered leaf blower directed at their faces.

All images used with permission, all rights reserved, copyright © the artist.

The Morning News:

The photos were taken in your home country, Lithuania. Why did you choose this particular beach?

Tadao Cern:

I chose it because it’s near me, and I don’t think I would have found anything different on other beaches around the world. I could have told everyone that these images are from Spain, the UK, or the U.S., and everyone would believe me. It’s not about the country. When we are talking about basic human habits and instincts, they are the same everywhere.

TMN:

How do the sunbathers react to being photographed?

TC:

No one noticed that I was taking these pictures, and that was one of my goals. I was trying to avoid any confrontation with people. This is usually the same when I am taking pictures in other public places, with street photography for instance. I also wanted to keep the images as natural as possible, and asking for permission or coming to people’s notice would change the whole concept and the final result.

Sometimes I had to explain what was going on, but usually I tried to walk away quietly. My usual response to a friendly stranger was that I’m taking pictures of nature, and I wasn’t lying, because people are part of nature.

TMN:

“Comfort Zone” includes only photos in which people’s faces are covered or otherwise not identifiable. You say this element is intentional. How would revealing the faces change the story?

TC:

Showing the faces would make these images very personal. Something about one particular man or woman. And that would be misleading because this project is about us, not about a certain person.

You can be sure that anyone, even yourself, would look the same in these images because a lot of details tell interesting stories about us, too.

TMN:

When was the last time a photograph disappointed you?

TC:

It disappoints me every time I see a picture of myself.

TMN:

You previously worked as an architect. What made you switch to photography?

TC:

It’s not my final stop. Photography is only one of many tools that I like to use to express myself. I’m still involved in architecture, but not as much as I used to. I’m painting a lot and would like to get into music a little bit more. I realized that today you have so many opportunities to try different things, it would be a huge mistake not to do so.

TMN:

What are you working on next?

TC:

On many things, but it’s best when the work speaks for itself.

Karolle Rabarison is at home wherever she can satisfy her coffee habit. She currently lives in Washington, DC. More by Karolle Rabarison