Diana met Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaiša through her brother-in-law, Šarūnas Račkauskas, who is also from Lithuania. Diana traveled there recently and got to spent time with Marius, learning about his life as a photographer, publisher and entrepreneur. He founded the publishing house Unseen Pictures, producing large-format aerial photography books Unseen Lithuania (2008), Heavenly Belize (2010), Magic Cancun & Riviera Maya (2011), Heavenly Yucatan (2012) and, now, Unseen Cuba which has taken over 5 years and a custom plane to produce. His work is distinctive and inspiring as he is granted permission to fly over destinations to photograph these inaccessible, but stunning places. His exhibitions have been displayed in more than 20 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Marius’s passion extends beyond this project; read more below to learn about what inspires his photography, his love of gardening and how he keeps health and fitness as his top priority.
From breakfast bites to midnight snack, what is your ideal food day?
I like feeling satiated combined with knowing that it came from eating high-quality, fresh, healthy food. Naturally, my ideal foods are fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds. Lots of water and coffee. I eat such good and tasty food that it is always a problem for me to not eat too much. This is something I am working on – an optimal amount.
What inspired you to start shooting aerial photography?
It grew from a combination of my passion for photography/videography and all sorts of adrenaline sports. Flying with an experimental little open cockpit aircraft is a true adventure and on top of that, I add the sheer joy of being able to capture unique, never before seen images.
How do you enjoy wine and food while also being healthy and fit?
I don’t use any alcohol so no wine. As for the food, there are only four things I don’t eat: meat, fish, eggs and milk; there is a whole world of tastes left for me. 🙂
What inspired you to grow your own garden and how has it changed the way you eat?
It all began with my fascination with plant-based diet three years ago. I began to dedicate more of my time and thoughts to being active, natural and outdoors. I think naturally you end up having your own little garden.
Is it difficult to be vegan in Lithuania? What do you love about living in Lithuania?
No, it is not difficult. Unorthodox still, but definitely not hard. In Lithuania we have a very clean soil, plenty of fresh water and temperate climate. We breathe high-quality air and don’t spend much time commuting. Even our biggest city, the capital, Vilnius is recognized as the greenest capital city in Europe. It is big enough to have a vibrant cultural and arts life but also so small that you can run into suburban forest trails in just 20 minutes.
Does your photography allow for a great work/play balance? How so?
Sure! Since I have to travel a lot, I can see many different places, meet various people and participate in running and triathlon events in exotic locations. Of course, the aerial photography itself is a great experience involving a great deal of adrenaline and super cool moments.
Five things you are dying to have right now…
I’d like to get a new set of carbon wheels and a power meter for my bike, a set of gymnastic equipment installed both by my main house and the country side house. And, to end the list, I’d like to get my little ultra light airplane back from Cuba and send it by sea to Lithuania. At the moment it is stuck somewhere in west Cuba.
What are your favorite cities for food? Favorite things to eat there?
Definitely number one is Singapore. I love vegetarian dim sums. Before becoming vegan, I could travel to Singapore just for the chili crab. Even now, once a year I have it when visiting with my kids.
What is your daily morning regimen?
I wake up around 5am and go either for a run or a bike training session. Afterwards it’s yoga. So every morning it’s 2-3 hours of sports activity depending on the exact workout. Then I have breakfast and take the kids to school.
What’s your idea of the perfect first date?
It should be a Medjool date. Very big, sweet and with lots of energy.
OK, I understand it’s not about these dates. 🙂 Frankly speaking, it’s a hard question. I am not sure I can come up with an answer. Last week we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary so I am well past dating and that stuff.
Advice you’d give your younger self…
I would have liked to mature a little bit earlier, around 25-30 years old, if that were at all possible… It took me a lot of trial and error, expensive mistakes and stupid things before I reached the internal peace and active/healthy lifestyle I am leading now.
Everyone has a go-to dish. What’s yours?
Oatmeal with chia and sesame seeds, cinnamon, maple syrup. With some walnuts and hazelnuts on the side. That’s the idea of tasty high-quality energy for me.
When was your last hangover? What are your cures?
I wasn’t careful at parties when I was younger so the feeling of hangover was very familiar; probably not since I was 17 or 18. Lots of water, coffee and sometimes sauerkraut or pickled cucumbers. But honestly, nothing helped much; I still felt terrible every time…
Death-row last meal?
A plate of fruit: mango, watermelon, blueberries and lychee.
What inspires you?
I think the sense of adventure is what inspires me the most along with a strong need to share my discoveries with all people and fulfill the need to create something new and beautiful.