My name is Giedre, I was born and raised in Lithuania. Giedre means “pure and peaceful” in Lithuanian, and can be a rather difficult name for people in the UK to pronounce.
I came to England just over 15 years ago and fell in love with the landscape. Wanting to share my newly acquainted surroundings with loved ones back home, I bought a compact camera for myself to start taking candid photos of the places I went and of the people I met. I especially loved to go to National Trust places for its architecture and parks. I created albums with the photos I took and sent them to my family in Lithuania. Back then for many Lithuanians travel abroad was simply not affordable with the disparity in wages and living standards. Sending photos to my family gave me a sense of joy that they can share in the beauty I could see around me - the places, people, flowers, architecture, and fashion. This is how my passion for photography began.
Although using a compact camera was convenient at the start, soon I realised that a compact camera was not enough- there were too many hardware limitations that meant the magic of the scene was often lost. After speaking to a friend, who is an amazing artist and also has a lot of knowledge in photography, I invested in a Canon DSLR. My friend was kind enough to share teaching materials with me and we occasionally used to take pictures in impromptu studios setup in living rooms, or garages, with simple household items such as bedsheets to act as a backdrop.
My husband has always been into sports and lives for the adrenaline to this day. When we met in 2003, he was into motorsport, a couple of years later he got into motorbike track days. Of course, I was always there to support and photograph him at every event. In 2012 his hobby expanded to racing at a club level, we camped in a motorhome at the circuits every race weekend. I walked around every track multiple times to find the “perfect” spots to capture the action. Over time motorbike racing became road-cycling races and mountain biking events. This meant that I then started photographing cycling races in various locations including cities, forests and even sandy Welsh beaches.
Sports photography brought plenty of challenges - how to work with fast moving objects, how to optimize the camera settings for different speeds and availability of light, and understanding the best places to position myself for the best shots. I was not afraid of harsh weather conditions, such as heavy rain, the cold or the wind blowing sand into my camera, despite sacrificing my camera equipment on several occasions. I felt excited at the opportunity to capture something different from usual stationary subjects.
Back in 80’s cameras were virtually non-existent in most Lithuanian families. I am so grateful to my dad for taking photos of my brothers and I when we were growing up. He developed the photos himself and my mum put the albums together. If it was not for him, there would only be few school photos in existence of myself and my siblings. I felt inspired to create something similar of my own one day.
When my son was born in 2015, I set myself the challenge to take pictures of him every day so that I could create a photobook of his first year. I felt disheartened to think my parents would miss the opportunity to see him growing up, since I only visited them once a year. The book had pictures showing all the things he did and the places we went. It also contained messages of things he liked and disliked, all his milestones - his first smile, first gurgling, first tooth etc.
Out of my son’s first photobook grew my current passion and focus in photography. My son gave me the ultimate inspiration to do what I love- turn today’s moments into tomorrow’s precious memories. With every image that I take I aim to tell a story and I focus on capturing emotions.