The mysterious explorer
When I first met Rusne, it was an extraordinary experience. Very often people who you meet for the first time remind of blank pages, which get filled up and distinctive only after lengthy period of time – as much as it takes to unravel all the mysteries and specialties of a personality. But certain people ooze a particular charm and create unique atmosphere in which you get plunged immediately after meeting them. This is exactly the case of Rusne Pazdrazdyte, a young photographer from Lithuania (which is a small European country nestling against Baltic Sea). Seeing her at work is a literal example of how an artist crosses the boundaries of a reality and dives in a totally different world. Whatever objects – let it be a human, a landscape or a grotesque–looking skull Rusne tries to immortalise, she always embraces it with a certain aura of mysticism, created by a smoky colour palette and urban surroundings. “I never make too many shots. I always try to make a picture perfect the moment before I take it. It’s just how I do it.” This statement imprinted in my memory as a fundamental rule of Rusne’s work, which proved that photography for her was not a machinery process, but a form of alchemy.
Then there was a second time when I met her. She was in a process of realising another photoshoot. At the age of only nineteen, she has already been featured in numerous Lithuanian magazines and collaborated with various fashion brands, attracted by her unusual take on fashion photography. A natural question arises – how does she do it? Why does her style, close to grunge aesthetics, but so perfectly translated to fit the style of the XXI century, seem to capture all the components which are essential in modern fashion? Modern photography, echoing a popular trend of minimalism, sometimes gets a little boring. This could be a main reason why photoshoots with a visual story open to myriad interpretations get more and more popular. “I pay the biggest attention to the final outcome of a picture. In other words, the story which is told by a shot plays the biggest role for me. I have also noticed that people like pastel colours which I use to create a dull atmosphere. I think it has become the key component in my DNA”, replied this girl in white Doc Martens. Although the photoshoot of that day took place in a quiet shelter of a forest, Rusne considers herself as a street photographer. “I am always surrounded by industrial and urban places. The fun part for me is trying to catch various forms of a city, capture different moods of it everyday as if it were alive. And in the background of this whole visual game I put the most important accent, a human. I seek to open untraditional perspectives.” Such attitude is perfectly reflected in her clothing style as well. Rusne admits that she’s crazy about asymmetric constructions, the philosophy of minimalism and rigid accessories. Being a photographer, she has a lot of passions and fashion is not the only sphere which attracts her. “I adore audacious and free people. I’m fascinated by distinctive personalities, by people who life according to their own values and who are deeply submerged in their own passions, by people who are not afraid to make a statement and embody a specific life philosophy. When I take pictures of such people, charisma flows out of the shots. It’s what creates the magic of photography. There’s no thrill in taking photographs of anything that is devoid of character.” Rusne mentions a French photographer Theo Gosselin as an example of a unique figure as well as one of her biggest authorities. “I had a chance to meet him last summer. Together we sought inspiration in Nida, a coastal diamond of Lithuania. Theo is absolutely free from the influence of stereotypes imposed by media. Photos by him are so vital and full of energy! The acquaintance with him made a huge impact on me.”
Then there was the third time I met her. To tell the truth, it was not a literal meeting. I was given a chance to learn about another passion of Rusne and see her unique works. Those were drawings – a surrealist circle of horses, devouring each other and finishing off with a small rose; a cartoon of John Travolta with a bunch of flowers; a warrior boy with a heavy gun, hanging around his shoulder. That seems to be another creative form of story telling. “I try to affect people with my creations”, Rusne concludes and I can say that she does that oh so well. A moment looking at her pictures or drawings gives me chills and leaves with a hope to see her in an international arena one day.