Lukas Viar is using analogue photography to snap pictures of the people that he spends his nightlife with.
By: Filip Sandstrom Beijer
Photos: Lukas Viar
It all started at a drag bar in London, where Lukas Viar worked and met people who inspired him. He started taking pictures with his Polaroid camera and immediately noticed that he had a distinct ability to capture people in the present.
"I was constantly surrounded by these amazing people and their fantastic characters. I got my Polaroid camera and started taking pictures. The polaroids were really amazing pictures and I got so much from it. So I started to feel inspired constantly. I decided to continue, I started on the polaroid and then I moved to a 35mm and now I work a lot with a 120mm.”
At 21, Lukas decided to move to Berlin, which he knew from his own experience was more accessible to him, “Berlin has this serendipitous vibe, where everything sort of comes together for a reason and it works really well for the art I want to create and the life i want to lead”.
"People do not need to work so much in Berlin. Here it’s more space, more clubs, and more venues. You can go from a lake straight to a club and then dance for 30 hours. In London the venues only exist to take your money and they close at 4, It kills the magic. Ofcourse London is an amazing city and I grew up there and it made me who I am, but the magic I look for is hard to find and more exclusive. "
During his first year in Berlin, he was sober. And so he abstained from the partying. The reason was that he didn't feel inspired anymore, and he felt that he needed to take a break and find something to hold on to.
"It was interesting, but I did not make so many new friends, even if Berlin is a city where you can find all kinds of people. For me, as most of my connections were through the international queer party scene. When I came here, being sober, I was surrounded by more normal people and it was also quite hard to feel inspired . " he says and continues;
"But it's really valuable to check yourself sometimes and I learned a lot from it. The issue for me was not that I was partying too much, it was that I was partying and did nothing else. I felt like I wasn't growing as a person or as an artist. For me it was ok to have fun and do a lot of things, but if I didn’t have an anchor, or an objective, I didn't want my life to be stagnant. I've always partied because I want something from it, not because I have to."
After his sober period, Lukas threw himself into the nightlife again and continued to be inspired by the drag scene and the parties, but this time in Berlin. He talks about why that particular environment is so inspiring and means so much to him.
"I like this element. Some drag queens are partying a lot and of course, in some way, this makes them really become themselves. The people who they are in these moments are real. The pictures show the person they want to be and not the person the society wants them to be. I think capturing this moment where the person is representing themselves, and the fantasy is real - that is magic, and that makes life worth living."
“I guess one of the reasons alcohol and substance abuse is so prevalent in queer communities, is because it numbs you to how other people perceive you, and I think queer people are hyper aware of how people perceive them because of closet trauma.”
Photography became the anchor he needed and today he has gone from hobby photographer to professional with plans to exhibit his photos and do more portraits. But these pictures are still very personal and do not lose their role as a diary.
"I could describe it as a visual diary of my life. I live a specific life that I think is a bit bizarre sometimes and it's nice to have such memories"
After becoming part of the nightlife again, he has also made new friends. After meeting at a festival where Lukas was a backstage photographer, he and Marina Rubinstein became best friends. This in turn has resulted in Lukas becoming a sidekick in Dr Rubinstein's Youtube Stream 'Quarantine FM' which started out as a way to offer music and socialising to the disenfranchised community during the lockdown, and now attracts thousands of viewers.
The duo has no current plans to stop.
A week in the life of Lukas:
Monday: Catching up on sleep
Tuesday: Food and work
Wednesday: Eat a lot and do the stream.
Thursday: Lakes in summer, ficken and/or roses in winter.
Friday - Sunday: “no sleep, bus, club, another club, another club, another club, plane, next place, bus, another club, no sleep”.
For more pictures from Lukas, follow him on Instagram.