“I support the idea that all photography is fiction” writes Vilnius-based photographer Simas Lin, “Every image is a visual expression of one’s philosophy and experience so it can never be absolutely true or objective. And I love to use fiction to create photography”. His series Been there traces the sensual experience perceived by the photographer while journeying into the city’s atmospheric, eerie peripheries.
The artist had reflected long and hard about how a photograph is in many ways just a digital record—“it needn’t be an artist who creates it” he thought, “the photographer could be replaced by a machine, we can even send drones and satellites to do the work for us”. At the same time, he considered the traceable footprints or marks the photographer does leave in an image. “I found that artificial lighting was something that leaves both a visual mark in a photograph, and helps signpost us towards the emotional story behind it”.
“I decided to document places I knew, leaving my own mark there”.
In the industrial peripheries of Lithuania’s capital the artist used artificial light in dark, natural landscapes to create something even more foreboding—the ability to control light became the cinematographic tool to convey his emotions.
“I was anxious as I investigated these spooky landscapes through the car’s rear window or peering through the corner of my eye”. Red—a colour that is naturally threatening—expresses that frightened, paranoid mental state that so often encroaches on our apparent sanity as we enter the darkness alone. “The project brought me outside of my comfort zone” he confesses, “I wanted the viewer to come with me”.
“All places depicted in this series are real” emphasises the photographer, “images are post-produced very little so all fiction is born in the viewer’s head”.
All images © Simas Lin