Photographer Tadao Cern spent last summer shooting strangers lying on a towel on the beach. The result is a project called “Comfort Zone”.
“While spending a weekend at the seaside, I’ve decided to visit a public beach that I haven’t seen since I was a little boy. There I saw a possibility to recite a lot of stories only from looking at the things that people bring with them. I’ve got so inspired that I had to quit what I was doing at the time and indulge into a new project. I came back the very next week with all my equipment needed for a photoshoot. I started this series because I was surprised how a certain place or surrounding can affect people’s behaviour. During our everyday life we attempt to hide our deficiencies, both physical and psychological. However, once we find ourselves on a beach – we forget about everything and start acting in an absolutely different manner. Is that because everyone else around you is doing the same? If yes, I would love that the same rules were applied beyond the borders of the beach – people would care less about what others may think about them. I believe that this in turn would show how different, interesting and beautiful we truly are. The deeper you dig, the greater possibilities arise. And the more you think – the more you question and ponder.
These photos are not staged and people did not suspect that they were photographed by me. I chose to capture images of sleeping vacationers because it accurately represents the name of the project ‘Comfort Zone’. It is only about the seaside, sunbathing and holiday somnolence that is free from a world surrounding you.
I chose to showcase only the photos with hidden faces not by an accident, but to grant an observer with an opportunity to calmly scrutinize each and every detail without being distracted. It also helps to avoid empathy or connection between people in the photos and the observers. It really does not matter who they are – the details not only reveal their stories, but make us face ourselves as well.
My favourite piece is the one with the two ladies – it was my first shot and from the moment I saw it, I was convinced that I must finish this project no matter what. Even though the process was stressful and frustrating, today I can finally say that I am really happy with the end result that turned into a collection of 24 large scale prints. Images that can be seen on the internet is only a part of it and I hope that a chance will present itself for everyone to discover all of them during the exhibitions”, says Tadao Cern.
And do note this: First gallery to exhibit his work was Saatchi Gallery, London back in 2014.