Asia through the eyes of Aukse Grei
After viewing the photographs of Aukse Grei, a photographer from Lithuania, we cannot unnotice the sense of East Asian minimalistic style combined with the details of Western vibes. Photography has already become a real “second life” for Aukse, which gives the chance to discover new opportunities every day. For Llamas’ Valley, she talks about the life in Beijing from her perspective and about much more.
How would you describe yourself in few sentences, for the audiences that don’t know you and your work?
Letting my work speak instead of me is what I strive for. The images I produce are reflections of me, my personality, my interests and passion. The concepts are heavily tied up to the beauty of East Asia mixed with Western vibes which pretty much reflects where I come from and where I am now.
Recently, you have moved to Beijing to work, to discover new chances and opportunities. What does this city mean to you, what emotions does it bring, and was it easy to start a new chapter in the other side of the world?
Living in Beijing is truly like living in a huge bubble of opportunities! They’re everywhere, and by that being said I want to emphasize how important it is to have a dream along with a goal in life otherwise you will get lost in the crowd. Moving to Beijing was one of the best decisions I have made up to date and I feel I have learnt more about others and most importantly, even more about myself.
How did you become interested in the Asian culture?
I have been into East Asian culture for as long as I can remember, and it’s the art of it that has drawn me into it. It all started with discovering music, movies and my admiration for East Asian’s beauty visually and culturally.
While viewing your works, I noticed that the sense of style is very mysterious, minimalistic, and modern. How do you find inspiration for your works and what kind of style do you prefer to show in the photos?
I absorb everything and everyone around me. I like to take pictures of mundane things and make them special. When I am thinking about ideas for a new shoot I look at places and people not through my eyes, but through my “inner lens” and start creating a story in my head from beginning to end.
How was the concept for the works for fashion collection of KARRO developed? What was the message behind it?
The collection “玉” which translates to “Jade” has been inspired by mountains, their shapes and Icelandic color schemes. Before the collection was even finished I knew I want to take these modern-classic pieces back to where they came from. Put something that belongs to the city back to the natural environment to create juxtaposition. Most of my works are mixtures of opposites.
One of the projects that you are recently working on – can you tell us about it?
Me and my team are working on the next shoot for Harper’s Bazaar China. I love the process of preparation starting from styling, location scouting to waking up in the morning, putting my precious camera on my shoulder and walking out the door knowing that today is a day to take the best picture I have ever taken so far.
Which photoshoot was the most interesting and the most memorable?
The very first photoshoot I have ever done in China was for a Lithuanian designer label “Wear Mad by July” and I myself gathered a team of stylists, make-up artists and a model. Neither of them spoke English and at that time my Chinese was as basic as knowing how to say “hello”. The funny thing is, there was no language barrier between us and the work flow was just fantastic. I think it is amazing that no language is needed to transfer the idea into someone else’s head and make it work. I am all about making an emotional connection with people I work with.
A photographer’s work day involves different places and people, new adventures every day. How does your working process look like?
It is a rather adventurous job and the best part of it is working with people who are just as passionate about what they do as much as I am about my job. That connecting power is what excites me when I am on set. It takes a great teamwork to produce great photographs and most of the time all details must be discussed before the photoshoot begins, because once I am on set, I go full-on control freak mode. When I take camera in my hands, my mind clears up and inspiration kicks in – I know exactly what to do and how to do it.
With whom you would like to work on a project? Is there a particular brand or a designer that you would like to collaborate?
There are too many! I guess if I had to choose a day to work with someone, it would be Chen Man, a Chinese fashion photographer.
You were born in Lithuania, studied in London, and now you are living and creating a life in Beijing. Which country is next in your mind?
As much as I love Beijing I still have this desire to explore and see more of the world. I am not frightened of moving from one place to another, there’s something really refreshing and beautifully challenging about putting myself in a foreign place and eventually starting to call it “home”. New York next?
What kind of advice would you give to the people who are still searching for their path?
Take little steps to achieve big goals. Learn within the process and in all cases, do what you love and love what you do, everything else will fall into place.
What kind of goals are you are reaching now and what are your plans for the future?
At the moment, my thoughts and actions are all for the sake of finding my true-self, shaping my own style and making it to be recognized globally. A long road ahead, but I can’t deny, it is an exciting one!
An ideal photoshoot – where would you take it?
I have a slight obsession with caves so the next destination on my wish-list would be Waitomo Caves in New Zealand. I can already imagine my model wearing Elie Saab dress, artists working on hair & make – up and me standing there with my camera, adjusting the settings. Yes, I plan that far just by looking at picture of a location I have just googled!