In pics: a snapshot of Lithuanian photography

Ora Sawyers

Rising up in Vilnius in the 1990s, Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte believed it was beautifully purely natural to be taught about the humanist tradition of Lithuanian photographers although even now at higher university. “They were being variety of like house names in Lithuania,” states Kiliulyte of Antanas Sutkus, Vitas Luckus and Romualdus Rakauskas — all masters of black and white social documentary.

Only right after relocating to Scotland in 2006 to examine at the Glasgow Faculty of Art did she grow to be fully informed of Lithuania’s outsize contribution to artwork pictures. Witnessing the Lithuanian Period of Pictures organised by Glasgow’s Street Level Photoworks gallery in 2014, Kiliulyte was struck by the worldwide reputation her countrymen and girls enjoyed.

“At initially, I considered this was fairly random,” she suggests. “After looking into, I realised Lithuania’s tradition of photography is historically pretty unique.”

This distinct history can be traced to the establishment of the Lithuanian Culture of Art Pictures in 1969 — a unionised photography team that was the first and only one of its form permitted in the former USSR. Just one of its founders was Sutkus, whose resolutely unheroic portraits of young children place him at odds with officers who wanted additional upbeat depictions of daily life in the USSR. Sutkus, nonetheless, favored to develop what he when called a “psychological portrait of modern man”.

Two photos by Antanas Sutkus: ‘Pioneer, Ignalina’ (1964) . . . © Antanas Sutkus
‘Back from the Mill’, a 1964 Antanas Sutkus image showing a vehicle full of loaded sacks
. . . and ‘Back from the Mill’ (1964) © Antanas Sutkus

Beginning in 1973, photographers would get in the resort city of Nida on the Curonian Spit — a massive bar of sand dunes stretching alongside the Baltic — to exhibit and critique a person another’s operate, much from the watchful eye of the point out. Vilnius Images Gallery opened in the very same calendar year.

Subsequent independence in 1990, the Society of Art Photography ongoing as the Lithuanian Photographers’ Affiliation, led currently by Gintaras Česonis. He sees Lithuanian photography’s tradition of mutual support as integral to its worldwide stature, offering it an influence disproportionate to the country’s tiny populace.

“Being in a group, in collaboration, artists can do way more than performing by yourself,” suggests Česonis, who is also curator of the Kaunas Photography Gallery, a further item of the 1970s photography scene. “Lithuanian photography became so obvious since artists could compete on one hand but collaborate on the other hand. They could be alongside one another when it was wanted to combat for legal rights and chances.”

A important minute was an exhibition entitled 9 Lithuanian Photographers, held in Moscow in 1969. The exhibit experienced a strongly humanist aesthetic, with collection of illustrations or photos depicting every day life in Lithuania as a distinct ethnographic id.

“They were really amazed by this notion that you could photograph truth but even now you could trace it to the amount of artwork by demonstrating the feelings of folks, by demonstrating tips,” claims Agnė Narušytė, artwork historian and theorist at Vilnius Academy of Arts.

Following independence, artists such as Gintautas Trimakas, Remigijus Treigys and Alvydas Lukys pushed Lithuanian pictures in a conceptual path, their “TTL” collective exploring the medium’s summary likely.

Even though no solitary design now dominates, Lithuanian images continues to prosper. The Nida Pictures Symposium is now pushing 50, whilst around the world interest stays sturdy. The German publisher Steidl, for instance, has revealed four volumes of Sutkus’s function, and an exhibition of Lithuanian pictures was not long ago held in Beijing.

Beneath are profiles of six up to date photographers born or functioning in Lithuania.

Tadas Kazakevičius

Portrait of Tadas Kazakevičius

Tadas Kazakevičius is a Lithuanian artist living in Vilnius who documents the disappearing traditions of everyday living in the country. His practice is inspired by the documentary pictures of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and Jack Delano, whose function for the US Farm Safety Administration captured life in rural The us in the course of the Terrific Despair.

Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte

Portrait of Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte

Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte is a Lithuanian artist who life and operates in Glasgow. Her apply employs images, sound and the shifting picture to investigate nostalgia, migration and weather modify. She has exhibited internationally and is currently a going to lecturer at the Glasgow Faculty of Art.

Valentyn Odnoviun

Portrait of Valentyn Odnoviun

Valentyn Odnoviun is a Ukrainian-born photographer residing in Vilnius, wherever he is completing a PhD on the intersections between Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish and Czechoslovak art photographers in the next half of the 20th century. His exercise centres on pictures as a medium in which abstraction and rationale collide.

Andrew Miksys

Portrait of Andrew Miksys

Andrew Miksys is an American-born photographer with Lithuanian heritage. Travelling to Vilnius to check out kin in 1995, he was struck by the speed of improve as the town tailored to existence immediately after socialism. In 1998, he was awarded a Fulbright grant and moved to Lithuania completely. Baxt, his challenge documenting Lithuania’s Romani households, was recently exhibited at Vilnius’s Mo Museum.

Geistė Kinčinaitytė

Portrait of Geistė Kinčinaitytė

Geistė Kinčinaitytė is a Lithuanian photographer who describes herself as an alien anthropologist. Her exercise works by using photography, moving photos and seem to check out the connection among the body and the landscape, the weird and the eerie. She is currently finishing a PhD in film and screen research at the University of Cambridge.

Dovilė Dagienė

Portrait of Dovilė Dagienė

Dovilė Dagienė is a Lithuanian artist and photographer doing the job in Vilnius whose exercise explores themes of memory, creativity, time and place. Her collection “Boy with a Stick” was awarded the 2nd prize at the 2015 Planet Photography Awards.

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