Since 2021 Klaipėda photo archive operates in the Local History and Digitization Department of Klaipėda County Ieva Simonaitytė Public Library (KLAVB). the. The library not only collects and digitizes the cultural heritage of Klaipėda region and works of professional art, but also takes care of the dissemination of available archives – organizes exhibitions, publishes publications, and organizes educational photography events. In 2022 the Erasmus+ project „PhotoKICK“ (Photography Kaleidoscope: Inclusion, Communities, and Knowledge) was launched in the library, the main goals of which are to strengthen the competencies pf andragogues and other adult education workers working in the fields of culture and creativity, using international experience; to motivate adults to get involved in the learning process, acquire new skills and competences, develop creativity and share their experiences through photography and educational activities of art exhibitions.

In order to participate in events where the topic of photography is comprehensively updated, a member of the „PhotoKICK“ project team from KLAVB visited two photography symposiums in September, 2022: the International Symposium of Old Photographic Technologies in Šiauliai and the International Symposium of Photographers „NIDA. Meet Photography“. Library employee Danguolė Ruškienė met with the participants of the photography field not only from Lithuania, but also from abroad. The theoretical and practical knowledge gained at the symposiums will be useful in the preparation of guidelines for the creation of educational exhibitions.

Digital technology has long since adjusted the concept of photography. Predictions that their continuous improvement and ever-increasing capabilities would eventually push out analog photography and the photochemical process of its creation have not come to pass. However, today digital cameras are incomparably more popular, just as the captured image is much more often corrected by computer programs and printed by printers than all this is done in a chemical-soaked photo lab. Therefore, the largest part of the process of creating a photograph is trusted by digital photography. On the other hand, in the last decade (not only in Lithuania), a kind of revival of old photography technologies has been observed. There are a number of reasons that encourage photographers to look back to the past of photography and remember or learn old photography techniques. Some of them are the experience of a special process, often the uncertainty of the final result and the desire to discover or learn something new, obtaining a different, sometimes unexpected result for the author himself.

International Symposium on Old Photographic Technologies

The fact that old photography processes are returning to the work of today’s authors was discussed at the second annual International Symposium on Old Photographic Technologies (https://photosymposium.lt/en/), organized by the Šiauliai Museum of Photography. In September 7-10, 2022, the event invited photography researchers, artists, museologists, as well as practitioners of old photography techniques from Lithuania and abroad. On the first day of the symposium, the conference „Photography and Sustainable Terminology“ was organized, dedicated to the issue of terminology and etiquette of old photographic processes. The first report („Lithuanian Photography Terminology Sources“) was read by the head of the museum, Vilija Ulinskytė-Balzienė. She retrospectively reviewed the main photography publications, which reflect the usage of photography terms, currently existing databases, dictionaries, where already standardized photography terms are published. The founder of the open

photography workshop, photo artist Gintas Kavoliūnas also spoke about the issue of photography terminology („The issue of photography terminology in Lithuania: paths and mistakes“). Photographer Mindaugas Meškauskas raised the issue of miscommunication between the author of photography and the researcher („Terminology of photographic processes – author’s self-expression or researchers’ classification?“). And the artist Dovilė Dagienė discussed the moments when the author himself creates and proposes new photography terms for his works („Photography terminology in the practice of creators“). At the end of the presentations, the discussion „Possibilities of unification of analog photography terminology in Lithuania. Is the mission possible?“, which was moderated by Andrei Antonau, the curator of the Vilnius Analog Photography and Film Festival, hardly moved the participants. This only proved that the topic of the symposium is quite new, difficult for both speakers and listeners. The subsequent presentation of Gintas Kavoliūnas’s practical research work („Studies and recommendations for the identification of analog photography techniques“) was completely unknown territory for most, and therefore attracted a lot of interest. As well as the story of Radosław Brzozowski, a master of old photographic processes from Poland, about the „recreation and identification of photographic processes based on silver salts of the 19th century“, during which he gave the opportunity to explore his original works created using different photographic techniques.

In this year’s symposium, the participants not only shared experiences and discussed the possibilities of unifying the terminology of analog photography, but also discussed the problems of preserving the photographic heritage and presented the identification methods of the old photographic technologies. During the symposium, creative workshops of old photography techniques were held: Gintos Kavoliūnas silver gelatin print, inversion process class „Postcard Series“, Saulius Paukščius „Van Dyke brown“, Artūrs Šeštokas „Wet collodion process. Ambrotype“, „Platinotype“ by Vilijaus Žagrakalis, „Carbon print“ by Radosław Brzozowski. At the end of the symposium, a preview of the created works was organized, which was moderated by the photo artist Gintautas Trimakas. There was also the presentation of the first Lithuanian cyanotype video clip (GODO YORKE (Goda Sasnauskaitė) and Dan Hermouet Photography), a GODO YORKE concert. The symposium ended with the opening of an exhibition of works created during the plein air.

International Symposium of Photographers „NIDA. Meet Photography“

Other photography topics were discussed at the 45th International Symposium of Photographers „NIDA. Meet Photography“ (https://www.photography.lt/en/symposium/nida-2022_2654/program_2655.html), which traditionally took place in the Curonian Spit in September 12-18, 2022. As every year, the symposium was organized by the Union of Lithuanian Photographers. This is one of the longest-standing professional photography events in Lithuania, which has been held since 1973, and one of the largest photography events in the Baltic States. The purpose of this symposium is to meet, exchange ideas, create, involving the local community and local organizations, while responding to global trends.

The event started already this spring, when the „Dunes“ exhibition of the Lithuanian photography classic Jonas Kalvelis was opened at the Tomas Mann Memorial Museum, and the artist from Taiwan Chia-Yun Wu started working in the first residency of the symposium. This author presented her exhibition and publication to the participants of the symposium in September at the Mizgirai Artists’ House. Artists residency is a new program within the scope of the international photography symposium. Chia-Yun Wu delved into how the phenomenon of the image changes. Her creative project is about being and non-being, here the meanings of boundaries and borders are questioned. Another exhibition „My Time“ at the Curonian Spit History Museum was opened by photographer Regina Šulskytė (presented by art critic Danguolė Ruškienė). During the event, the Neringa city mayor’s award was presented to Vytautas

Daraškevičius, a photographer from Vilnius. He was appreciated for his many years of photographic activity and photographs that creatively represent the landscape of Neringa and moments of the life of the local community.

Highlights of this year’s symposium: presentations by artist and activist Adam Broomberg from South Africa and interdisciplinary visual artist Anton Kusters from Belgium. Historian and curator Luce Lebart spoke about the women photographers featured in her recent book „A World History of Women Photographers“. Her colleague from Poland, Adamas Mazuras, reviewed the publication he is preparing and the exhibition about Lithuanian photography, which will be exhibited in the International Cultural Center in Krakow in the spring. SetP Stanikas invited Lithuanian artists living in France to talk about photography in their personal work.

During the five days of the festival, thirteen lectures were given at the VDA Nida Art Colony. They were read by foreign and local artists and art critics: Agnė Narušytė „Landscapes of turbulent times: Little Lithuania and Ukraine“; Erika Grigoravičienė „The new bestiary: animals in the chronicles of the war in Ukraine“; Arvydas Grišinas „Memes, images and performative warfare“; Adam Mazur (Poland) „XXI century the phenomenon of the photobook“; Aušra Kundrotaitė (Spain / Lithuania) „Contextuality of photography as an iconic sign: the perspective of intermediality theory and iconicity studies“; Rūta Statulevičiūtė-Kaučikienė „Photography, graffiti and the Holocaust“; Jelena Šalaj „What is NOT in the family photo album: unconventional stories about motherhood“; Tomas Pabedinskas „Jeans, rock and political changes“; Peter Delpeut (Netherlands) „Jona Mek’s Memory Trembling“; Luce Lebart (France) „World History of Women’s Photography“; Paulius Jevsejevs „Image and text. Animal selfies“ and Natalija Arlauskaitė „Educational and service photography of Eastern European secret police“.

Meetings with artists took place in the afternoons. Vladyslav Krasnoshchok (Ukraine), Jessica Backhaus (Germany), Virginijus Kinčinaitis, Vilius Dranseika, Youvalle Levy (Israel / Germany), SetP Stanikas (France / Lithuania), Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, Agnė Jonkutė, Alishia Farnan (UK), presented their latest projects. Brigita Kasperaitė, Serena Dzenis (Australia / Iceland), Alvydas Lukys; Chia-Yun Wu (Taiwan) and Laima Kreivytė (Cooltúristės).

During the symposium, it was also possible to participate in practical photography classes. Jessica Backhaus, one of the most prominent representatives of contemporary German photography, led the workshop „On Intuition and Visual Poetics“, where they worked on image management, creating a photography book, preparing an exhibition and developing a project. Lithuanian photo artists also shared their creative experience in practical sessions. Artūras Šeštokas introduced the primitive photography technology – the wet collodion process. Visvaldas Morkevičius’ intensive workshop „Exercise“ consisted of theory reading, discussions, development of ideas and creation of a work. The creative results of the participants were presented at the event held at the end of the symposium.

In the evenings, informal gatherings were organized, during which photo projections were shown. The organizers invited the finalists of the „Louise Roederer Discovery Award“ competition organized by the Arles Photography Festival (Arles Les Rocontres de la Photographie) to view. For the fifth year, the presentation of the works of the finalists of the projection contest organized by the Lithuanian Photographic Artists Union took place. This year’s competition „Calm before the storm or like being in the eye of a hurricane“ aimed to draw attention to the post-quarantine world and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Out of 60 submitted applications, 20 were selected for the competition, and the winner was Serena Dzenis, a photographer born in Australia and currently living in Iceland (project „2021 ± II: Utopia Broadcasting“). At the seminar, it was also possible to hear a lecture by this artist.

It is obvious that in recent years, the symposium organized by the Lithuanian Union of Photographic Artists has gone beyond the limits of traditionally perceived photography. New forms of it are sought, relevant ideas are raised, which are examined in lectures and discussions, treating photography not as a separate field of art, but discussing it in the general context of contemporary art.

Despite the quite different goals of these events, the focus of all of them is photography. The diversity of topics that touch on analog and digital resolutions of photography, its presentation and reception methods, archiving, acquisition and collecting features only proves that photography is extremely relevant in Lithuania. And although there are still a number of questions on the topic of photography, to which there are currently no answers, the attention to the medium, its development, development, perception and even use seems to be sufficient to find them in the future.

The Erasmus+ project „Photography Kaleidoscope: Inclusion, Communities, and Knowledge“ (PhotoKICK) is implemented together with international partners from Lithuania (Klaipėda County Ieva Simonaitytė Public Library, Lithuanian National Museum), Latvia (Kuldyga Art and Technology Center), Spain (Cultural Association „Espacio Rojo“), Slovenia (EPEKA Association for Science, Research Art, Culture, Educational Programs and Technology) and Hungary (Hungarian National Museum).

It is financed by the funds of the European Union. However, the views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the EACEA can be held responsible for them.

The information was prepared by Danguolė Ruškienė (Klaipeda County Ieva Simonaitytė Public Library).

More news

Photography Kaleidoscope

Nove ideje in rešitve: “PhotoKICK” spletna delavnica

On February 1, 2023, an online project result workshop with project „PhotoKICK“ partners from Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Spain was held by a coordinator of the project – Viktorija Žilinskaitė from Klaipėda County Ieva Simonaitytė Public Library.During this meeting, all partners were working on developing the guidelines for creating educational photography exhibitions, which will…
Read More Nove ideje in rešitve: “PhotoKICK” spletna delavnica
2. Meet Su Kuldiga Klaipėda

Projekt “PhotoKICK” se nadaljuje

Klaipėda County Ieva Simonaitytė Public Library is implementing a new international Erasmus+ project „Photography Kaleidoscope: Inclusion, Communities, and Knowledge“ (PhotoKICK) together with the Lithuanian National Museum, Kuldiga Art and Technology Center (Latvia), the cultural association „Espacio Rojo“ (Spain), Science and research association for art, culture, educational programs and technologies „EPEKA“ (Slovenia) and the Hungarian National…
Read More Projekt “PhotoKICK” se nadaljuje
Kuldiga 1

Projekt “PhotoKICK” – obisk Kuldige

On November 21-22, 2022, project team members from Klaipėda County Ieva Simonaitytė Public Library visited Kuldiga (Latvia) and met with project partners – Kuldiga art and technology center. The meeting was attended by library director Laura Juchnevič, project manager Viktorija Žilinskaitė, head librarian Danguolė Ruškienė and mentor Larysa Sydorenko. Here are a few moments from…
Read More Projekt “PhotoKICK” – obisk Kuldige