It is almost useless to remark that the growing interest in photography in the age of multimedia and Internet may be seen as a form of return to the sources of individual experience and quest for critical thinking. Photography is no longer regarded, discussed about, sold and bought only in the tight groups of professionals of the field. It gradually becomes a field of interest of an average citizen, sickened by the mass culture. Festivals of photography have gone a long road from Arles to the continents of the world and keep on collecting crowds of fans and creators of image arts, collaborating and competing with each other.
Finally the time has come for a celebration of photography in Lithuania. The first festival of photography in the country will rise in September 2004 in Kaunas. The primary mission of KAUNAS PHOTO DAYS is inviting and sharing.
Feasts of photography in the Central Europe aim to serve as bridges between the East and the West, while from the very first edition, KAUNAS PHOTO DAYS enriches this cultural tradition by placing one more important accent, that of the connection between the North and the South.
KAUNAS PHOTO DAYS proudly presents a panorama of Nordic photography, Nordic IMAGE full or revelations. Curators and photographers from the "North" will descend to Lithuania, the geographic center of Europe, to meet their colleagues, participate in the Portfolio Reviews, give lectures at a conference and to celebrate photography in many other ways.
The festival of KAUNAS PHOTO DAYS aims to present the classic and contemporary photography of other neighboring countries. Most of the exhibitions will be premieres in Lithuania, Baltic countries or Central Europe. The program, nonetheless, does not exclude photographic works of bright beginners and amatures of photography. Carreers of the emerging creators will be given green light at the PORTFOLIO REVIEWS.
Special attention will be paid to exiles from Lithuania to have become famous names in the world of art, the names and works of which which still unknown in their native country. This year KAUNAS HOTO DAYS will unveils a mystery of Ben Shahn, the photographer, with the first ever exhibition of his works in the country and town of his birth. Ben Shahn's pictures of the great depression will not only respond to the theme of the year "Country Market, Global Market", but also expose the striking similarities to the core subject of the Lithuanian school of photography - the Market, a tradition that flourished well into the 20th century.
Why in Kaunas?
During the past decades Kaunas played a particular role in the photographic life of Lithuania. Kaunas branch of the Union of the Lithuanian Art Photographers celebrates this year its 30th anniversary. Directed by Mr. Aleksandras Macijauskas, this center of photography has created and still runs the prestigious Fujifilm Gallery of Photography, located in the in heart of the old town of Kaunas, which has welcomed one-man shows of H. Cartier-Bresson, A.Rodtchenko and other world - famous names.
Since 1985, another ongoing project of Kaunas branch of the Union of the Lithuanian Art Photographers maintains the spirit of perfection in photography - Kaunas School of Photo Art, reputed in Lithuania for its students who are now known as journalists and photographers. One of them, also a former student of Ecole nationale de la photographie of Arles, has risen the idea of establishing a celebration of photography in his native city, Kaunas.
The idea turned into reality.
With great pleasure we invite you to KAUNAS PHOTO DAYS the first festival of photography in Lithuania, the Heart of the new Europe !
Kaunas Photo Days 2004
In September 2004 began Kaunas Photo Days, the first photographic festival in Lithuania and the Baltic states, bringing news ways of seing, considering, discussing art of photography in Lithuania. Since 2004, the only annual photographic festivity in the Baltic States Kaunas Photo festival has become a significant not only transformed the cultural climat in Kaunas – a town with a rich artistic scene, but also became the largest annual photographic event in the Baltic states.
The first edition of Kaunas Photo Days was focusing on the theme of Market, presenting 30 personal exhibitions, hightlighted by the premiere public exhibition of Ben Shahn's (born in Kaunas, Lithuania 1897-died 1969, USA) photographs of the Great Depression. Thirty exhibitions in total, distributed in the galleries, museums, business areas, educational institutions of the centre of Kaunas was a new formula of presenting photographic art.
Kaunas Photo Days 2004 made a spotlight on the unknown photography from the across-the-sea neighbours Nordic countries – Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Exhibitions of classic works of Ismo Hölttö (Finland), Emil Heilborn (Sweden), Lennart Olson (Sweden) produced small-towm photography rush, with crowds of art lovers gathering at the museum doors. Wide menu of exhibitions and events was topped by presence in Kaunas of numerous respectable figures of photography: critic Allan D. Coleman (USA), Alain Desvegnes (photographer,founder of the School of Arles, France), Marek Grygiel (curator, Poland), Marjatta Tikkanen (curator of Hippolyte Gallery, Helsinki, Finland), Ulrich Haas-Pursianien and Harri Laakso (organisers of Backlight Triennial in Tampere, Finland).
Guest Region – Nordic Photography, personal exhibitions:
Henrik DUNCKER (Finland), Sade KAHRA (Finland), Jukka MALE (Finland), Lisa SELIN (Sweden), Lennart OLSON (Sweden), Emil HEILBORN (Sweden), Ismo HȪLTTÖ (Finland), Kristina Elisabeth STEINBOCK (Denmark), Trine SONDERGAARD (Denmark), Nicolai HOWALT (Denmark), Kent KLICH (Sweden-Denmark).
Alain Desvergnes (France), Ben Shahn (Lithuania-USA, 1897-1969), Denes Farkas (Estonia – Hungary), Gintaras Česonis (Lithuania), Liina SIIB (Estonia), Marc Paygnard (France), Mirjam Wirz (Switzerland-Lithuania), Tadeusz Rolke (Poland), Tomas Pospech (Czech Republic), Vilnis Vitolins (Latvia), Vytautas Stanionis, Jr. (Lithuania), Wojciech Zawadzki (Poland).
Country Market. Super Market. Lithuanian photography. (Curator: Mindaugas Kavaliauskas)
Diploma and Final Portfolios 1998-2003. Institute of Creative Photography, Opava, Czech Republic. (Curator: Vladimir BIRGUS, Czech Republic)
Tomorrow began Yesterday (Curator: Wendy Rowe, UK)
Photographers: Aleksandras Ostašenkovas, Regina Šulskytė, Juozas Bindokas, Rolandas Parafinavičius, Claire Parr, Andy Ford, people of Communities
Country Market. Super Market by students of Kaunas Art Institute. (Curator: Gintaras Česonis, Lithuania)
Document for History, based on photographs from series Lithuania. Farewell views by Vytautas Stanionis, music composed and performed by Eugenijus Kanevičius.
KAUNAS PHOTO DAYS
Director, Chief curator