Portrait of the Early Generation Z

2020, October 6

Author: Elena Krukonytė

Members of the early Generation Z were born between 1995 and 2001. I myself was born in 1998 and the creation of this project was inspired by my own reflections on the relationship with time. Raising my own existential questions — what have I achieved being 22 years old? what else should I achieve in the future? why am I who I am? — I try to find my answers through looking at peers with whom I have interacted in real or digital space. The young people who I chose to involve in the project are members of my generation and I notice that our lives are related and intertwined in numerous ways. We subconsciously feel a sense of commonality, we are united by the memory of young Lithuania, freedom, the desire to explore the world and make sense of our existence. As we go through the same stage of life, we realise that we are becoming adults and starting to feel responsible for our lives and the world. Therefore, as we develop in individual areas of interest, we create the actual reality of our time and our own.

What unites us as members of the early Generation Z? Inevitably, it is technology that we grew up with. Computers, phones, the internet and large amounts of information change our way of thinking and interacting. It is easier for us to understand and create visual as opposed to written content, we are able to multitask, however, we have a short attention span. Technological changes create new forms of self-expression – almost each of us have a virtual version of our personalities expressed on various social media platforms. We are representatives of global culture – technology makes the world seem small and familiar, we are aware of what is happening all around the world and we are able to find similarities and relate to people of different nationalities. Generation Z is the first generation in Lithuania to choose to study abroad on such a massive scale. However, after talking to the people photographed in this project, who are studying at foreign universities, many of them consider Lithuania as their home and are determined to return after their studies. The Lithuanian Generation Z could also be called the Generation of Freedom we were raised by parents who fought for the independence of Lithuania. We are also connected by the memory of a young, free Lithuania, a country that has just regained its independence and has not yet joined the European Union. The ideas, popular culture and tendencies of that time formed the national and aesthetic identity of young people (this topic is being analysed in more detail on my instagram account @90s_Lithuania where I archive and examine Lithuanian aesthetics of the 90s). Traditional values, such as nature, home and family, ​​remain in the minds of Generation Z. When asked where they would like to be captured, many of them chose either nature, in which they feel peace, or home, where they grew up and feel safe. Basically, our generation could be considered dual – modern, technology-dependent, but also romantic, appreciating tradition and nature, as well as showing an interest in the past. This duality takes place because our generation lives in a semi-real and semi-virtual reality. It is particularly easy to confuse the two realities – such a life is strange and unstable – so the questions that I address in this project provide an insight into the foundations of the actual reality and the essential features of our generation.

Members of my generation depicted in this project were born between 1995 and 2001. Each of them was photographed in their own chosen location, which was supposed to reveal what contributed to the formation of their personality. For one it is a village in which childhood summers were spent, for another it is a district of Vilnius in which strange synthesis of different architectural styles is revealed and for the third it is a family house where inner peace is found. Each of the portraits is accompanied by a caption, which briefly describes the person’s childhood, current occupation, why they chose to be photographed in that specific location and how they see theirs and their generation’s future.

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