Capturing The Colorful Patchwork Of Lithuania’s Lost “Garage Towns”

Photographer Agne Gintalaite documents the vibrant facades of Soviet-era garages in her series Beautiful Remains.
 The forgotten but not-so-long-ago pasts of cities are often hidden in plain sight. In her photo series Beautiful Remains, Agne Gintalaite narrows in on a part of Lithuanian cityscape no longer a part of urban culture but lingering in the periphery: colorful garage doors of “garage towns” on the outskirts of town.
“Spanning extensive areas, these garages were part of the social fabric [of Lithuania],” Gintalaite writes on her site, and in her patchwork photos grouping together like-colored doors, they do appear to make up vibrant textures. Doors painted various shades of green, blue, red, and orange have been sun-scorched and faded by wind and rain, their weathered streaks and paint strokes giving them a Rothko-esque quality.

Gintalaite began the project after going on a recent trip to the IKEA at the edge of Vilnius and finding herself in one of the city’s large garage areas—called “garage towns” in Lithuanian—which she calls “peculiar phenomenon of late socialism.” “There I stood on Prusu Street with 500 garage doors staring at me, a relic from the past inviting me to engage with a world in which there was no IKEA, no conspicuous consumption,” she writes.
No longer a part of city life, the garages have outlived their usefulness and will most likely be torn down or repurposed in the near future. In capturing these colorful facades, Gintalaite hopes to preserve not only this offbeat aspect of the city’s history, but also the dignity of the garage owners: “elderly, definitely not rich people, who, by sticking to their property, garages, literally maintain their ground in an urban landscape on which big businesses increasingly make claim.”


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