Images and people behind the lens
Lithuanian photography traditions are very old, which might be the reason why photographers in our small country reap one victory after another in major global competitions.
In the summer of 1839, mere months after the world learned about the invention of photography, the first photograph in Lithuania was produced in Vilnius, showing Verkių rūmai (the Verkiai Palace). Six months later, the first photography studio opened in Vilnius. Photography has been through a long journey of development and has always remained a way for the people of Lithuania to use imagery to reveal their feelings, nostalgia and love for their homeland.
Today, photographers in Lithuania have their own chronicle and awards presented to the best photographers each year.
A legend of Lithuanian photography and a winner of the National Prize for Culture and Arts, who catches and preserves snapshots of everyday life. Antanas Sutkus is among the most famous of Lithuania’s photographers, and someone who breathed the spark of creative inspiration into the stagnant photography of the Soviet past. He is a witness to everyday life who sees regular objects and people from a unique perspective. The artist’s photographs are genuine works of humanist, journalistic photography. Antanas Sutkus has immortalised numerous renowned personalities, including President Valdas Adamkus, poet Czesław Miłosz, writer Tomas Venclova, world-famous philosopher and writer duo, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, designer Paul Smith, artist and film-maker Jonas Mekas and many others.
“Antanas Sutkus is characterised by an intuitive creative method, the tendency to record various moments of life based on insight, an ability to build an emotional connection with the people he photographs, to sense the subtle sense of authenticity inherent in the casual moments of our lives and to express it in his photographs.” Photography scholar Tomas Pabedinskas
This artist knows well what it means to awaken one day and find that you are famous. Today, he is more of a fine artist than a photographer. The non-traditional work of Tadas Černiauskas, or Tadao Cern, is written about by the world’s press, the most famous galleries invite him to arrange exhibitions, and art critics present him with awards. His projects Blow Job, Revealing The Truth and Comfort Zone have been presented at various galleries throughout the world, such as the Saatchi Gallery in London and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
“Tadao Cern is a contemporary Lithuanian artist whose work attempts to understand what it means to be human.” Art critic Davidas Veneman
The person who demonstrated to us Lithuanians how beautiful our country really is; and a photographer who knows how to soar not only on a plane or hang-glider, but also using his thoughts and flights of fancy. After publishing a photography book of exquisite beauty, Marius Jovaiša became yet another ambassador who spread the news of Lithuania to the world. His book, Neregėta Lietuva (Unseen Lithuania), has been published in 11 languages and 35 countries. Its success encouraged the seasoned publisher to make another step forward and preserve the many colours and people of Belize and Cuba in images using his camera. This year, a sequel to Neregėta Lietuva (Unseen Lithuania) by Marius Jovaiša is due to appear, combining subjects as diverse as a ritual necklace several thousand years old, DNA-editing technologies and the forests on the bank of the Neris shrouded in morning mist. “This book was created out of love for Lithuania. Once you spend some time turning the pages, you feel like saying, in spite of yourself: ‘You are so beautiful, my dear homeland…’ These are paintings rather than photographs.” Antanas Sutkus, president of the Photography Art Society of Lithuania