For Lithuanian photographer Visvaldas Morkevicius, taking pictures has always been the most natural way of keeping a record of an emotion or situation. At some point, after scanning hundreds of films, he turned some of the most strange, evocative and outrageous records into his new book Public Secrets. As the title suggests, it takes you to the paradoxical world of being young in the city, the space where private and public inevitably merge.
Most of photos document wild nights of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, where Morkevicius lives: dimly lit bars, strange discos and dingy basements, snowed up streets, bruises, mornings after. “I think I will not lie if I say alcohol is the typical pastime here”, Morkevicius admits. “Of course we can find other aspects to it too, but alcohol is one of the main attributes of entertainment here in Lithuania, it’s a fact. If we talk about Vilnius, it’s a town with all the benefits of a capital, so you can find everything here. From parties with five stages in a skate park to an old gay club in the basement with cheap drinks and a blowjob room (funny that everybody just smokes and chats there, I never saw anyone using it for its intended purpose), you can go to goth parties or just drink till 11am at Mars bar. In summer usually there’s up to three music festivals every single weekend, so all parties go out of Vilnius to the woods”.
Blurred, magnified, pulled out of original context, Morkevicius’s photos capture the visual roller coaster of an urban night out and the youthful feeling of dissolving in the moment. Even the silky orange curtain or a random portrait on the wall radiates the raw energy the photographer might have felt while pressing the shutter. “It’s about experiencing the space around you, happenings in it and being a part of, but not accelerating, just observing it from the side”, Morkevicius says. “What I wanted to explore at first was my inner ‘I’. After enjoying all those moments, that is, happenings, people, experiences and spaces, that revealed themselves before my eyes I would always take a picture like a note of them to remember the moment and emotions that were there.” Public Secrets is a shameless account of wild Lithuanian nights, but also a great visual metaphor of the memories of youth we’ll be left with in a few years.
Public Secrets will be on show at Berlin’s Panke from 29 of January, 2016