Kaunas Photo

KAUNAS PHOTO festival opens the year 2011 on March 4th with an event at FORMAT international photography festival in Derby, UK, organized by QUAD and curated by Louise Clements, bringing a slideshow dedicated to contemporary Baltic street photography “Baltic Street Photography Now: “Publicly privatized”, curated by Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, director of Kaunas Photo festival.
4th March - 3rd April
9:00 - 23:00

Alnis STAKLE Lost


Baltic countries, even though considered as one region, is a set of three nations speaking different languages and living in specific cultures. Since mature Soviet years the three countries had distinctive styles in photography. Lithuania was the most reputed with its humanistic genre photography tradition. Latvia was mostly ruled by aesthetic and non-social photography, while the most nordic of the three neighbouring nations, Estonia, has had a strong conceptual tradition in photography, topping both, the aesthetic and story telling imagery.


Donatas STANKEVIČIUS Welcome in Berlin


In 2011, in the end of second decade of independence of the three countries, it is less easy to discern the ruling trends of photography image based art due to the general background of experiment and a variety of influences. When it comes to street photography, though, it is here that we can talk of common trends in all of three Baltic countries. In the Soviet years, street as public area was a place, explicit about both, social and private life of people. Today, after the “privatization” of space, in economical, social and emotional terms, the Baltic people have transformed their life into living the “private”. Many photographers simply stopped photographing in public areas, while those who continued doing so, are in the quest of using the “street” as scene for their subject, rather than focusing on street life in general. The notion of street itself got extended into any place outside home: square, pavement, seaside, bar, business plaza, beach, bus, boat, which means that straight street pictures become rarity.


Märten KROSS Floating dreams



With the B&W tradition of decisive moment still alive, it is mostly in quest of and humour and mostly present among Lithuanian photographers. Baltic photographers also have adopted several mainstream points of view towards the street as subject or scene of the subject. Sub themes, such as emptiness, loneliness, car accidents, lifestyle determined by occupation, travel or, for example, proximity of sea are common in the straight approach to photography. It is to be noted that Baltic photographers tend to distance themselves from the subjects and make the people in their viewfinders share the main role with their environment – paths, yards, buildings, bus stations. Conceptual photography where a public view and scene is used to fulfil specific idea – staged portraits of people, cross-processed imagery is among the latest trends of street photography, with all the conceptional charge does not lose its wit and spontaneity. Last, but not least, there is a trend of photography seeking to speak of emotions by the images featuring public space.



Alexander Gronsky (LV), Alnis Stakle (LV), Donatas Stankevičius (LT), Dmitri Gerasimov (EE), Kazimieras Linkevičius (LT), Märten Kross (EE), Mindaugas Kavaliauskas (LT), Ramūnas Danisevičius (LT), Roman Drits (LV), Tadas Šlajus (LT), Ugnius Gelguda (LT).


Slideshow curated by Mindaugas Kavaliauskas

Special thanks to: Alise Tifentale, editor of “FotoKvartals” magazine and curator of “FotoKvartals” gallery, Riga (LV), Ahto Kulvet, editor of “Cheese” magazine (EE)





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