You have heard it many times - “Photography is dead!” .
In the crosswinds of technological revolutions, consumer behaviour, our efforts to protect our image, our identities, our dignity, and other trends and fashions, the art of photography has become different from what it was ten years ago.
Having melted into the multimedia it gave a parto of itself to computer art, installation, performance etc. I would still say that it is rather recycled than dead. Or, in other words we could say thar many spheres of life and communication are recycled into photography. As we know it, everything related to recycling, changement of substance, reusing of the consumed, is the key idea of the sustainable development. It is the remedy against the global catastrophes and the pathway to survival.
Half a century ago, re-usage of the used in the arts was called post-modernism. Now that the re-usage has become a norm, photography startet to fit everything in its territory: mixed techniques, diputed points of views result in images that attracts the eyes and conquer the minds. We could deduce, that recycling is part of the survival of photography, which re-adjusts its modes to contemporary society.
If all of the today's photographs are vivid and colourful, let's recycle images into blurry and monochrome ones. If a century ago, a photograph was a triumph of truth and facts, documents, now let us create doubt, ilusion, deception. When no-one on the street wants to become an immediate model for a picture, let us do anonymous photos. Or, if an object, monument, building, landscape is a property of someone not wanting us to photograph, come on and create our own landscapes, interiors, objects, models and invent our own photographic reality. If hundreds of thousands photographers – pros and amateurs use virtually same cameras, an artist will still distinguish himself by choosing detours. Why not remake a digital camera into analog? Since the dawn of centuries, artists have been creating their own rules and transforming the life experience into artistic reflections. Of course, quality recycling is never cheap nor it is easy. It risks not to be profitable neither. But the idea of recycled photography, after straight & street photography goes well beyond “fashionable”. It is as positive as the green colour, and its spaces are vast.
Now time to get some green colour into “Kaunas Photo” art festival. Maybe it is an occasion for the festival to be fashionable and follow the trend of recycling. Let us paint in Kaunas Photo in green and be green. Let the sixth program of Kaunas Photo (program of the small anniversary 2004-2009) be the one designed not only for the “intellectuals” of photography, but also for those whose interest in photography is still about to ripe.
I was often asked, what was making photography of our age “good”, “strong”, “interesting”, I used to have troubles answering briefly. Oceans of time was wasted for discussions and disputes. Now the moment of truth has come. This time I can promise to no longer waste words. A lot of work was necessary to make up this Kaunas Photo program which will provide several simple answers. I am happy to say that now everything regarding contemporary photography will be clear. Just come ans see!
Kaunas Photo Recycled is about several different cycles. First, the festival is returning to the Kaunas Town Hall square, where all exhibitions will be placed next to each other. The opening of the festival at Kaunas Town Hall on September 2, 2009, will remind of the launch of the first photo festival in the Baltic States, that happened there in September 2004. This year, all the three open-air Nights of Photography will invite everyone to the Town hall square on the evenings of Sep 2, 3 and 4, 2009. Visitors will be able to do an easy cycle of Town hall square and see all the exhibitions, everyone of which will give a different hint to what is good, strong, interesting photography. Yes, you got it. Nine exhibitions will be like 9 lessons of recycling of photography, easily learnable lessons of green photography. When you come, you will see. If any questions left, maybe the Nights of Photography will give the answers.
The lessons will be tought by most different photographers – stars and beginners, local photographers and those of distant lands. Recycling motive is also about the five years history of “Kaunas Photo” festival, since the exhibitions and Nights of Photography will host works, shown in previous programs and allow to admire them in different, green light.
Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, "Kaunas Photo" festival
Founder and Director