Urban Chats: photographer Raggana

Posted: Deimantė Grigaliūnaitė Date: 2013-07-05 02:12

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© Viktorija Rekašiūtė

“Raggana“, or otherwise Viktorija Rekasiute, is a young photographer trying in her creation work to find herself and, by the help of photographs, create music, which could be tamed by someone.

She talks openly about her experiences, feelings and life.

Viktorija, why did you decide to call herself Raggana?  Which one is more frequent: Raggana or Viktorija?

This question is so frequent that I started to fear of going too far. Really, most people  know neither my name nor surname. Sometimes even my relatives tell that they haven’t known that Raggana is me.

The name came to me spontaneously. What is the first idea when you hear the name? As personally for me: miracles, forests, gloominess, dreams and magic. And everything mentioned before you can find in my photographs. To my mind, topics of my photographs, ideas and mood are connected with my nickname in high degree. I wanted my nickname to smell of ideas, I am spreading to people.

Why photography? What was the beginning? At school You were interested in various things: dances, sports, music…

I chose photography like an expression of creation. Only the closest friends knew it. I was fond of writing, creating short texts about fictitious moments, flashes, about human existence. Yet, I didn’t feel strong in writing. Over time I found photography in my life. But everything I created was not gone. The creations tamed photography successfully and now growing together. And dances were an inherent part of my life. Each movement, ability to feel synthesis of music and motion, probably shaped me as you see me now.

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© Viktorija Rekašiūtė

How has Your life changed since that choice?

As it sounds bold to tell, but the choice hasn’t made any significant influence to accept photography as a base of changes. More specifically, the new role of life “created” by myself merged me with this activity. The continuous search of balance in life, no ability to see the world as it should be, a long fight in search of the meaning of life opened my eyes. I noticed that a quest may be creation, by which I could answer my issues of concern, as though carrying the message to the world, sharing my creation works with others. Generally speaking, I unveil myself as a creator (some even call me an artist), but at the same time it is my work, daily  bread and life ambition.

What had You to sacrifice for Your dream?

I had no sacrifice for my dream, but if I need it, it won’t be a dream, but necessity, inability to reach my goals set in a different way. On the contrary, while making my dreams come true, I little by little accustomed people, who filled with a nondescript energy. Although sometimes they like vampires took something away from me, but they left some place to new impressions. At the same time they inspired me to look for something farther that was not seen with a naked eye of a human being.

( Have You ever regretted it?) I never regret. Even if you make a mistake, it is the best lesson and the start to begin everything again.

What inspires You with new ideas of photographs?

Music and poetry is the major inspiration. OftenI think that I am an old fashioned person, this inspiration of mine is strange.(smiling) You go to the forest and hear some strange scrape somewhere at a distance, after a sizzler you feel come clouds there and silently, over the surface of land, the rain arrives. Look, you can smell an incredible scent synthesis and some idea, thought arisehere. You close your eyes and see a moving moment , which in a wink will slow…stop…and become a small moment on a page of paper. The moment will change the day, make think somebody.

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© Viktorija Rekašiūtė

How does a new photograph occur ? What is the most difficult thing in the process?

Everything is happening so quickly in the world. A flower can bloom overnight, a human being is born, a river can flood. And the most important thing is to know that coming to this moment is long and slow. The same is with a new photograph, as to a viewer it may seem a moment, accidental sighting. So, it is true. But the journey to this is not so short for a thinking creator. You have to find time for yourself, give way to meditation and get to a different sphere, another world. You are travelling restlessly, trying to collect everything you can by your memory. And then you stop, come back and give everything you saw to a viewer. He will experience it or won’t. The most difficult thing is to create a picture so mesmerizing and to talk not directly, but in a way that a viewer can go through this moment. So that he not only could see, but also smell and hear, and his human curiosity would desire this moment deep in his mind silently to be in his everyday life.

What stories do You tell by Your photographs?

I have never spoken by my photographs. First I tried to create music, which had no explanation, that could be obscured by the text. Ones are tamed, while others even don’t want to hear it.

While watching my photographs I try to identify myself. I am asking all the time- what I wanted to say? I realized over the years, that my passion to sung poetry is infinite and I opened the gates to a new search or creation. Very often I feel like an illustrator to the texts already created, and making up moments not ready yet. All these stories are short stories about sadness and joy, desire for freedom and blocked thoughts, about the real man and what he needs. My creative foundation is a man and nature, his relation and search of meaning in relationship.

What will You never photograph? 

That is strange, distant and breaks any of my beliefs. Speaking about my real life moments and not wandering among existential ambitions, I think I would have never photograph funerals. Never. It is an incomprehensible phenomenon, that, according to some researchers, is a reflection of society. It is one of the most unacceptable commemorating moments.

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© Viktorija Rekašiūtė

Your first solo exhibition ”Femme Fatale” was at the end of February. How did You feel that time?

I felt at the highest point of the creation work. It is the most important thing to a creator to make his creation a phenomenon, which he can touch or see differently. Smell, touch,feel. Besides, it is like some gratitude to people you worked with.

An exhibition means one things to an author, and others to a viewer. That day you feel like a bright line, harmonizing all the images in the picture of life chaos. The line, which can‘t diverge or take the wrong position.You feel yourself somebody, whom will believe that day and listen to your heart beat with great willingness. The feeling is fantastic.

We can see lots of short cut girls, who are considered an inherent image of fatality in Your exhibition. Why are those women like that? What do You feel looking at them?

The audience believed them. Comments of people let me guess that they believed my strong attidude to photography, and authorized the fact that those women could be fatal. Although it is too bold to admit that I quite broke this meaning.

The women of this image mean not only the highest point of human external aesthetics, but also harmonic exterior. I don‘t know why this idea has overwhelmed me. The photography is also some perception of the concept of beauty.By no means you won‘t be deceived by stereotypes. I didn‘t want to show any pain in my photographs. Any interpretation or rendering of regret. These are the women whose exterior reveals my attitude to harmony and subtle beauty.

Even though You say,that You are afraid of contrasts, escapade, but the description “modest” to Your own style wouldn’t fit at all. Don’t You agree?

Contrasts and escapade in my life mean willingness to be not yourself, but create a deceptive image and lie to yourself and others while not being what you are. Unfortunately, I hear people talking that I am a rather courageous person, but my courage is natural and not artificial, as my needs of a human being require it. I won’t call it any escapade.

What is the daily routine of a photographer? Is it enough time for youthful entertainment, feminine procedures?

I will reveal as old as life secret. A photographer has no daily routine. Wherever you are, whatever you do, you as a photo lens focus and scan moments, mature them, and later make them a photograph. The photographer lives in different worlds, sometimes you don’t want to come back to the real world, given to all.

There exists no such phenomenon like lack of time. It is enough for everything: both entertainment and procedures. But the most beautiful time for me is being alone, when you can travel, break away from the crowd. Only then I start to love myself and I am what I am.

You mentioned once, that You felt like the hero of the novel ”Steppenwolf”. Why is she so close to You?

Perhaps the main reason is change of opposites, their transition from one to another, absence of unity and harmony. Harmony is aspiration of art. Though understanding that I am different in every period of life, makes me feel like the hero of this novel. I run to loneliness and independence, foster myself as a personality on one hand, or I enter quite a useless period of life on the other hand. But, maybe a creator like me enables to analyze his own characters and plot easier.

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© Viktorija Rekašiūtė

You say that You are looking for independence, running towards loneliness. Why is it so significant to You? Do You feel lonely often?

I don’t know. The life taught it me. I saw the best side of this state. You see, hear more, you touch the things that people usually have no time for, passing by. While continuously spending time among people you are programmed to focus attention to a person only. You can’t say him: Hush! Sensing? Seeing? Smelling? Keep silent for a moment or so, it is so wonderful.

That’s why I love loneliness because of these moments. And I am calm and absolutely free. I don’t deny  my isolation from crowd is even more miraculous escaping with interesting people. But even though there are not so few people of the kind, but they are not so courageous and open to themselves and new search. They are stopped by opportunities, attitude and fear.

What is very significant going in Your life at the moment?

This moment my life is flipping upside down. I came to live and work to the seaside, the place, where I always was stuck. You live and understand what you long for each time, what is your part here and now.

I prepare quietly and slowly to my new mini creation project, which I don’t want to pronounce, but I will be happy to depths of my soul if it is implemented and displayed to people. There will play music, poetry and photography in it. On the other hand, my life is like a sea, one day calm, and another day it is stormy, just hold on.

You are talking about search of meaning. What is meaning of life to Your mind?

Very often my receipts of meaning of life seem too sharp, or too sweet to others, but I try not to be afraid of both. Meaningful life is when you allow yourself to be honest and frank, create it to yourself the way you like, but not as others. Surely, you can be selfish only to some extent, but life is meaningful when you have opportunities , freedom of choice and implementation, when you are not afraid of others judgement and condemnation. After all, if you are able to find balance in life and weigh everything evenly, you can’t be afraid of going in small paces ahead and fall down from high suddenly.

How do You imagine Your life in five years?

It is said-never tell your wishes aloud, they will come true. I can’t imagine my life, because this fantasy is scary and timid. However, nobody can distract me from travelling and wandering. I can’t stick to a living place, friends, family. I am fond of wandering and getting to know myself closer in it. Yet, I won’t hide my creative purposes, but we will see if they come true in five years…And if it is so, you will open my book and read it!

Finally, what title of Your success story would fit best?

“One Way to Become Happy”. First, I thought to add at least six zeros to the number, later a bit less. And then I understood that I had created no story of success at all. A success in life is happiness and ability to be happy. The success story would consist of lots of blank pages, with no text. I would allow a reader to create his own story and implement it. Be careful, wishes come true.