Culture

Capturing the Christmas spirit during quarantine

A Lithuanian photographer whose drone shots made headlines around the world during the first Covid-19 lockdown, has taken to the skies once again, this time to help the people of Vilnius celebrate Christmas.

With Lithuania calling a nationwide lockdown in the lead-up to the Christmas and New Year holidays, residents of the country’s capital Vilnius are once again making the most of the situation – this time by sharing the holiday spirit from a safe distance.

Balconies, windows and terraces have become the new canvases on which to spread holiday cheer and connect with neighbours.

Back in the sky

Adas Vasiliauskas, the local photographer who made headlines during the first lockdown in March with a series of quarantine portraits shot with a drone, has taken to the sky once again to snap photos of residents in lockdown.

Together with the municipality of Vilnius, Vasiliauskas invited people in Vilnius to turn their balconies into miniature Christmas fairylands.

Inspired in part by a group of local artists who created a number of Christmas installations on balconies across the city, dozens of households were up to the challenge and responded by decorating their balconies with things like giant lollipops, shining deer and lots of Christmas lights.

Adas has since been visiting the most inventive balcony creations with his drone and publishing photos of them on social media and a website showcasing the project he’s called Christmas on the Balconies.

A balcony on Bažnyčios street. Photo by Adas Vasiliauskas
In tune with the holidays

Dmitrij, a resident of the Žirmunai district who illuminated his 11th-floor balcony with decorations that can be seen from afar even without a drone, is happy to be sharing the holiday spirit from a safe distance.

“The holidays are a time to bring joy to our families as well as our neighbours,” he says. “We came up with the design for our balcony with a green Christmas tree surrounded by clouds four years ago, when most of the other balconies remained dark. Now we would like to encourage everyone to have fun during the holidays and cheer others up from a safe distance.“

Since the new reality we all faced during the first lockdown inspired his first series of drone shots, the photographer wanted to make his second project more in tune with the holidays.

“My first project revolved around taking pictures of people in fun situations, on their balconies and in their windows,” Adas explains. “So for the Christmas season I wanted to create something festive yet safe. By inviting people to decorate their balconies as originally as possible, I wanted them to unleash their fantasies and see this as an opportunity to show the world that we can still celebrate and have fun, even in the context of a pandemic.”

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