KAUNAS PHOTO festival with the theme “Peripheral Visions” turns the issues of the periphery, the province, the “insignificant” places, storylines, events and phenomena. By submitting their works to the program of the 17th KAUNAS PHOTO festival and the 10th edition of KAUNAS PHOTO STAR contest, 170 artists from half a hundred countries of the world highlighted what was not important so far, but has now become significant. The main part of the 17th KAUNAS PHOTO festival program consists of thematic exhibitions in museums, galleries, cultural venues, squares and outdoor spaces of Kaunas. Following the theme of the festival, part of the program also goes to Lithuanian towns and villages: Kražiai, Tverai, Užpaliai, where exhibitions are held based on artistic residences that have already taken place. A mini-festival with several exhibitions, educational events, screenings and a residence of a foreign artist is organized in Lazdijai.
1. Kaunas Photography Gallery (Vilniaus St. 2) – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2020 Winner’s exhibition. September 3 – September 30, Tue-Fri 11:00-18:00, Sat-Sun 11:00-17:00. Gallery ticket (on Wednesdays entry free of charge). Exhibition opening at 18:00, September 3.
Cronostasi is a photographic reflection on the contingent situation of the population in Milan during the lockdown period determined by Covid19, with a gaze that invites us to meditate on the new time of the human condition. A time that is always physically the same, where life continues suspended in the everyday routine of its own living space, while outside everything becomes foreign and unreal. The project focuses its attention on an intimate and universal search for a renewed perception of time, that is a moment of crisis and an opportunity at the same time. The complete project consists of a series of 50 images.
Gianfranco Ferraro is a professional photographer who dedicates himself to reportage, stage and commercial photography. Chiara Panariti studied at the Bauer School of Photography and Visual Communication in Milan and she is a photographer and digital post-producer. They cooperate for the projects of Gianfranco Ferraro, The Mayor and the Future City (2016) and Numeruomini (2018). Chiara Panariti takes care of the post production of the images of both projects. The first project was exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Numeruomini won the Special Mention at the Italian Golden Globes (Rome, 2018).
Exhibitions & publications
The Mayor and the Future City
Venice, Gang City Exhibition - Architecture Biennale, 2016
Lodi, Ethical Photography Festival, 2016
Vienna, Italian Cultural Institute, 2017
Turin, Cinemambiente Festival, International Cinema Museum, 2018
Milan, Civic Aquarium, 2018
Rome, Italian Golden Globe ceremony, 2018
Corriere della Sera, 2018
2. Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum (Rotušės Sq. 13) – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2020 Finalist’s exhibition. September 3 – September 18, Tue-Sat 9:00-17:00, Thu 9:00-19:00. Museum ticket. Exhibition opening at 17:30, September 3.
There are a lot of places in the world that few people know about. There is little traffic there. Occasionally, a car arrives next to the shop, someone will get off and go for a beer and then it will leave with a screech of tires. An elderly woman walks for bread and a piece of sausage. A local drunk sits on a bench. Someone bustles around in the garden, and a tractor from a nearby farm passes. Anglers meet over the river, where inhabitants come swimming in the summer. Only around the school you can hear shouts and laughter. There are no lights on the streets after dark and there's nothing to do. Many people would like to leave this place. There are those who dream of living in such a place. Will reality be able to live up to dreams? Is this a good place to be young here or to grow old here? I don't show how the people live in such a place, don't show real sadness and joy or problems of everyday life. These are just images that reinforce the vision of such a place. They deceive. They draw you into a world we do not know. They are like mermaids calling a sailor at sea: come to us and stay. What will happen if I stay? Użpaliai - a town in eastern Lithuania, situated on the Sventoji River. There are 1631 inhabitants in the commune, 836 women, 795 men, 214 children, 499 people up to 45 years old, 918 people after 45. There are three shops, a municipal office, a church, an Orthodox church, school, house of culture.
Michal Adamski - born in 1976, based in Poznań, Poland. He is co-founder of Pix.House Foundation and Gallery. Member of the The Association of Polish Art Photographers. Student of The Institute of Creative Photography in Opava. Participant of Napo Images Agency Mentor Program. He was a stipendist of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in 2017 and scholar of the Marshal of Wielkopolska Region.
He had solo exhibitions in Warsaw, Poznan, Bielsko-Biała, Pila, Opole, Kaunas and group exhibitions in Krakow, Warsaw, Berlin, Buenos Aires and Miami. Michał Adamski concentrates primarily on long-term documentary projects. He aims to create an honest story, but marked by the author’s interpretation of reality. In his photographs he deals with social and documentary issues, with a great importance of a man and his life in the modern world.
3. Kaunas City Museum Folk Music Branch (L. Zamenhofo St. 12). – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2020 Finalist’s exhibition. September 3 – October 3, Tue-Fri 10:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-17:00. Museum ticket. Exhibition opening on September 3.
For me, Germany seems unfamiliar. After my youth in the province, I moved to Germany‘s largest metropolitan region. In my previous home area, Sauerland, many people identify themselves through traditions and history. Something that I could not find in the milieus of the larger cities and which was rather met with aversion there. These differences gave me a feeling of being in between. I became aware that I could not define my home country and that much is unknown to me. This leads me to question “Germanness” and to enable a comprehensive, alternative and personal view of Germany. Is there evidence for a hidden German identity? Would it have a value for society? What speaks for or contradicts the idea of a collective identity? I want to rediscover this country, examine the unnoticed and the overseen, let myself be surprised - track down Germany and find out what it has to tell. In the course of several road trips, I travel through rural Germany, looking for occasions where people escape from their everyday life, identify with traditions and history and thus take on roles, dress up or stage themselves. Moments that we as outsiders of these communities hardly notice are lined up to form a personal narrative, a tragicomic portrait of Germany. The provocative question remains: What does it mean to be „German“?
Arne Piepke (1991) is a documentary photographer who grew up in a small village in Germany. He deals with social issues and the people‘s connection to history and their surroundings. With his photo-essays he wants to raise questions that follow the viewer and contribute to an examination of the topics and thus to a better mutual understanding. In 2019 he won the Student World Report Award and his work was part of the screenings at Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan. In 2018 he won the PDN Student contest and was nominated for the W. Eugene Smith Student Grant.He is a founding member of DOCKS, a collective of documentary photographers who act upon shared humanistic values.
4. Kaunas Municipal Vincas Kudirka Public Library, Department of Youth, Art and Music (A. Mapu St. 18) – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2020 Finalist’s exhibition. September 3 – October 10, Mon-Fri 9:00-19:00, Sat 10:00-16:00. Entry free of charge. Exhibition opening at 16:30, September 3.
Wolves have become almost extinct in Germany in the past 200 years. Now again these animals roam the forests, meadows and villages, and come up to the edge of the cities. They rarely show up though, and none have been aggressive towards humans since their return. People fear the wolf nevertheless. Why? The animals serve as identification and demarcation: here are those who cheer their return, here are the others, who perceive them as a threat. Parents who are unwilling to let their children play alone in the forest. Owners who don’t want to see their animals be killed or maimed by a wolf. My pictures show places where wolves have been detected. A wolf lives here. A wolf ate here. A wolf died here. A wolf was shot here. In these places man and wolf have to live together again. Whose territory is it? Who can live here undisturbed and run around, who should stay away – and who decides this? In my photographs you don‘t see any traces of wolves. The pictures touch on themes of social change such as globalization, rural exodus or a turn around in energy: changes that frighten people but are perhaps more difficult to grasp than the wolf itself. Beside my pictures I show newspaper and magazine pages, in which articles about the wolf appeared. I have deleted all words except the headline of the article and words in which the wolf appears. I would like to point out the discrepancy between media presentation and the actual visibility of the topic.
Hannes Jung (b. 1986) is a documentary photographer based in Berlin. He studied photography in Munich, Hannover and Valencia.
His work was awarded among other with the Lotto art prize Brandenburg, n-ost reportage prize, Rückblende – prize for political photography, Prix Mark Grosset, College photographer of the year award, Promotion award, Deutschen Jugendfotopreises, Canon Profifoto promotion award, South Tyrol Media award.
Hannes‘ work was shown in several exhibitions and festivals around Europe like the Athens Photo Festival, C/O Berlin, Copenhagen Photo Festival, Fototage Wiesbaden, Kaunas Photo, Kolga Tbilisi Photo, Vilnius Photo Circle, Visa Pour l‘Image “Visa Off”.
5. Kaunas Cultural Centre of Various Nations (Šv. Gertrūdos St. 58) – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2020 Finalist’s exhibition. September 3 – September 30, Mon-Fri 8:00-17:00. Entry free of charge. Exhibition opening at 16:10, September 3.
There are 78 cafes in the small Russian village Umyot! The reason for their appearance is chance. In the spring of 1994, Evgeny Dinyabkin, a resident of the settlement slaughtered a pig. He fried a kebab and went out to the road. Truckers bought everything in a moment. Dinyabkin's success affected the others. Suddenly, almost all residents of the village became restaurateurs: from former milkmaids, tractor drivers and military personnel to teachers, doctors and officials, who went to the road to prepare kebabs after work. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the country's economy was in chaos. Most of the enterprises were on the verge of bankruptcy, and often paid their workers by giving them part of their production instead of salaries. Many Russians were forced to revert to the archaic practice of barter. For the locals, kebab paved the road to "real" money. Within the next few years, about 400 kebab cafes were opened in Umyot. The main business idea: home-cooked meals and warm relations with the guests. The menu in the cafe looks like a kaleidoscope of Soviet cuisine: pancakes and Olivier salad, borscht and kharcho, fried potatoes and kebab. The main element of the interior is the TV set, the walls are decorated with orthodox calendars and reproductions of famous landscapes. All the cafes are similar in style and serving, but each owner considers his institution special. Today there are 78 cafes in the village for 2000 inhabitants. None of the cafés have closed during the pandemic. The cafes in Umyot is a vivid example of the sudden and unrestrained Russian capitalism.
Lebedev Mikhail is a documentary photographer and photojournalist from St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2019 he graduated School of Modern Photography Docdocdoc (Saint - Petersburg). He works as a photographer and film director. The most important part of his professional life is personal projects. He is inspired by: hidden communities, social conflicts, progress and its consequences.
6. VMU Multifunctional Center for Studies and Research (V. Putvinskio St. 23) – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2020 Finalist’s exhibition. September 3 – October 31, Mon-Fri 7:30-21:00, Sat 8:00-18:00. Entry free of charge. Exhibition opening at 15:30, September 3.
Diamonds were once so plentiful along the west coast of Southern Africa they could be plucked from the sand by the handful. Mining companies quickly annexed large swaths of this land, fencing it off and prohibiting entry. Most of the small towns that serviced the mines were also closed to the public, and for decades an air of mystery prevailed along this coastline, heightened by the fog that frequently shrouds it. Diamond yields have declined in recent years however, and many of the mines have closed. The towns in turn have slowly opened their borders, but the inhospitably arid environment and the lack of work has led many residents to leave. Houses have been abandoned and gardens laid to waste. The husks of cars lie scattered, waiting to be collected for scrap metal. It seems like this enigmatic place has been unveiled just in time to see it collapse into ruin.
Dillon Marsh is a photographic artist living in Cape Town, South Africa. He received a BA Fine Art degree from the University of Stellenbosch in 2003 and he became passionate about photography while studying. He’s held seven solo exhibitions and taken part in numerous group exhibitions both locally and abroad.
His work often isolates and emphasises specific features of particular landscapes, from suburban areas to more desolate rural scenes – usually elements that illustrate how we as a species engage both deliberately and unintentionally with the world around us. In recent years, he's also introduced computer generated imagery and unearthly lurid colours into his photographs to reveal underlying features or dynamics that can’t be illustrated with photography alone.
7. Žaliakalnis Funicular (V. Putvinskio St. 22) – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2020 Finalist’s exhibition. September 3 – October 31. Free of charge. Exhibition opening at 15:10, September 3.
This project, which has been developed for several years, is a large-scale study, including historical research, papers, interviews and tours around Lithuania in search for wooden synagogues. In Lithuania, unlike other European countries, to date remains the largest number of wooden synagogues. Some of them restored, some left for decay, while others adapted to living houses or structures of uncertain purpose. Under the name “Plant Memory” (Lith. “Augalų atmintis”) this project is a continuous research of rare architectural monuments and remnants of cultural memory around them in order to reconstruct the broken and tragic story of Lithuanian Jews, to restore the lost narrative. Plants from historic Jewish settlements, the ones found growing on endangered wooden monuments, become the monument itself – the language of symbol and metaphor – translated into the medium of photography, not only showing the extent of the tragedy, but also by extending the capabilities of documentary storytelling, it returns a testimony of lost time and place.
Dovilė Dagienė-DoDa (born 1981) is an artist and photographer who lives and works in Vilnius. In 2020 graduated from Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, Photography and Media Art with DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts) degree. Research interests include memory, imagination, time and place in photography.
Since 2006 she has been participating in group exhibitions and has held several solo shows in Lithuania and abroad. Her series “Boy With a Stick” has been nominated and awarded the second prize at the World Photography Awards 2015. Presented series “Suspended Light: Two Suns” from the project “Here Then, There Now”, was already noticed by International Photography Grant 2018 Experimental category and awarded 3rd place. In 2019, she received the J. Dovydėnas Prize (Lithuanian Photographers Association) for the most significant humanistic and documentary photography projects, works of art and exhibitions.
8. Square next to the State Tax Inspectorate (A. Juozapavičiaus Ave. 57) – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2020 Finalist’s exhibition. September 3 – October 31. Free of charge. Exhibition opening at 14:30, September 3.
A building with big letters that state this simple fact can be found in almost every small Lithuanian town or village. There you can find bread, eggs, meat, beer, or toilet paper. Formally, its purpose is just that, but its importance to people is special. It is a place where villagers get to know each other, meet up, talk, share news or rumors, joys, or tribulations. Unlike in a church where you have to be tense, focused, trying to show the best version of yourself, the store is the place where people can be themselves with a simple everyday routine and simple everyday thoughts. It is the true sanctuary of life, fulfilling daily human needs, in a building with the big capital letters: PARDUOTUVĖ (en. THE STORE). Almost everyone in Lithuania has childhood memories of spending summers at their grandmothers and running with their friends to the store for ice cream or candy. During the occupation years, people would stand in long queues to get a better piece of meat or a loaf of bread. The shop became a reflection of social, political, and cultural circumstances in the history of Lithuania. After Lithuania gained independence and the socialist economy was replaced by capitalism, the stores that were state-owned before were bought up by locals. Despite political changes, it's still a place where people meet, news spreads, and rumors are born. But larger supply chain stores are being opened in bigger cities nearby, therefore the relationship between people - buyers and sellers - is weakening. Lack of work and emigration out of the small towns lead to a shortage of buyers. The stores are closing.
9. Kalniečiai park (next to Savanorių Ave.) – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2020 Finalist’s exhibition. September 3 – October 31. Free of charge. Exhibition opening at 13:00, September 3.
The photographs in this series show abandoned playground spaces that are the metaphor of forgotten skills which our society has relegated to just one period of our lives: our childhood. In the adult world, with other values and interests, the playful remains only as a memory. Now, these old playing spaces for children or adults, appear inserted in the middle of nature that invades them in the slow process of its transformation into ruins. The series proposes two levels of reading. The first one is a social criticism concerning the place that play has today in our consumer society, where it is seen just as an industry or entertainment. The second one is an intimate and personal reading, a look at our childhood where we found the ruins of paradise from where we were expelled. The childhood, a space and a time, where play, creativity and enjoyment were possible, and remains in the trace that underlies these photographs.
Guillem Vidal (born 1955, Barcelona) lives and works in Barcelona (Spain). Diploma in Graphic Design from the Eina school in Barcelona. (1980-1983), where he also started in the world of photography. Since 1983 he has worked as a designer and in 1985 he created his own studio.Some of his professional works have been awarded, published and participated in exhibitions. Since 2002, he has used photographic language to develop his personal work. His photographic work revolves around the landscape. It shows the presence of human interventions in the environment in order to adapt it to their needs. It seeks to capture the traces of these actions and the struggle of nature, which over time, tries to erase them to regain their space. Since 2009 his works have been shown in individual and group exhibitions, in galleries and institutions, both national and international.
10. Chechnya Square (P. Lukšio St.) – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2020 Finalist’s exhibition. September 3 – October 31. Free of charge. Exhibition opening at 13:40, September 3.
Ancestral of the photographic camera, the oldest reference to the principle of the camera obscura is attributed to the Chinese philosopher Mozi, in the 5th century BC But it is in the Renaissance that it starts to be used as an optical device: a completely dark box or room with a small entrance of light projects, in the opposite part of this opening, an inverted image of the external scene. Since then, the technique has been used for the most varied purposes: the visualization of solar eclipses without jeopardizing the vision; helping painters in search of a more faithful and two-dimensional representation of the world; until it served as inspiration for obtaining the first photograph in history, "View from the Window at Le Gras", produced over an eight-hour exhibition from the window of French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niepce, in 1826, in the city of Saint-Loup -de-Varennes, France. Not by chance, the window as a point of view is a recurring motif throughout Art History. From “Woman at a Window” (1822), by the German Caspar David Friedrich, the Rear Window, by Alfred Hitchcock (1954). From waiting to voyeurism. There are many references, including Dalí, Picasso, Matisse, Magritté, to the most recent inspiration in the work of Cuban photographer Abelardo Morell, who transforms ordinary environments into surreal settings in his series Camera Obscura. A place that starts to be re-signified by different contemporary artists around the world in Covid-19 times. Nowadays, the window starts to represent the border and the abyss between the outside and the inside world. Freedom and confinement. Obs-cu-ra is the sum of it all.
A series designed by photographer Bruno Alencastro from the 4th-floor window of the apartment where he lives in the Copacabana neighborhood, in Rio de Janeiro. From there, he went to the homes of 12 more Brazilian photographers who agreed to turn their houses into large-format obscure cameras and captured life in times of pandemic. Each with its uniqueness. Achievements and losses. Wishes and privileges. Fears and hopes. The result is a photo essay characterized by a dark and enigmatic atmosphere, such as the indecipherable future that no one knows for sure. Until then, contact with the outside world continues to happen through this limited frame of reality, the representation of a changing life. A present that makes us think about the past in search of answers for when all this is over.
Bruno Alencastro is specialist in visual narratives with experience in photography, video and digital content production. Master in Communication by Unisinos and professor since 2014. In 2018, he completed the specialization Photojournalism and Social Photography at the Centro de Fotografía y Medios Documentales de Barcelona - CFD BARCELONA. He is currently Director of Photography at Canarinho - Content Agency (RJ). From 2010 to 2018, he was a photo reporter for the newspapers Sul 21, Correio do Povo and ZH - where he also held the position of Photo Editor.
11. Kaunas IX Fort Memorial Complex (next to the Administration Building). September 10 – October 31. Free of charge.
When I arrive in Oswiecim at the end of the day it is raining. Night is falling, it’s winter, the shock is brutal. A sign reads: “Forever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity, where the Nazis murdered one and a half million men, women, and children, mainly Jews from various countries of Europe.”
To see it is to remember, to gather one’s thoughts, ‘lest we forget’. At Auschwitz the goal is certainly clearly understood by most visitors, but is the phenomenon of mass tourism compatible with this need for awareness? In the area surrounding Auschwitz hotels and car parks are sprouting up and competition between the Krakow tour operators is a reality. The clash is disturbing. “Auschwitz? A return ticket? From the city centre? Yes it’s possible.”
The following evening, I dine with Pawel Sawicki, press officer at the Memorial, who gives me permission to photograph the site using a tripod. I timidly broach the notion of ‘dark tourism’. “The only important thing is that people come here, one doesn’t come out of such a visit unscathed,” he says. The risk that the message might be distorted obviously exists, but it doesn’t matter that the Auschwitz Memorial may be associated with ‘dark tourism’. This doesn’t shock him. I am amazed by his uninhibited response and often think back to it during my travels.
A few months earlier in 2008, I had come across an article about macabre tourism in Sri Lanka. On 26th December 2004, a train known as the Queen of the Sea and which linked Colombo to Galle, had been swept away by a tsunami near the village of Telwatta. Since then, the train has lain in the jungle; a place of pilgrimage for some, one of curiosity for others. I wondered about the different motivations of these visitors. What would the victims have thought of it? What did the survivors think of it? Indeed, this dramatic event had a particular resonance for me. On holiday in Sri Lanka at that time, I had been a direct witness to the horror. I had found myself with a shirt tied around my face to alleviate the very real smell of corpses scattered throughout the jungle. Fear of an aftershock also saw me running as fast as my legs would carry me to high ground whilst the terrified Sri Lankans climbed into trees. The tears of the survivors are still etched in my memory and the idea that this place could become a ‘photo opportunity’ put me ill at ease. And I wondered whether, under the guise of an examination of conscience, we had not simply become consumers in a market of human barbarity? The explosion of mass tourism, which always calls for new offerings, may perhaps be responsible for this heightened attraction to the macabre, an attraction which hides itself behind the mask of culture, or even ethics.
Chernobyl, Ukraine. Prypyat – a ghost town in the middle of the forest. A lost city of our recent history, which still exudes a sense of apocalypse. There are those who want to turn it into a museum, a relic of the Soviet era. At the end of the day the school there has an air of incredible sadness, children’s notebooks still on the tables, forgotten shoes. The town of Prypyat has something else surprising. Tourists. A group of eight, Swedes and Americans, cameras over shoulders, hands in pockets. In front of the reactor, while the discussion continues, a woman says “We have to go now, I’m afraid”. The search for an adrenaline rush is evident, you feel the drama here, you become the first witnesses. The visitors treat themselves to a thrill, a dizziness, perhaps also a wish to reassure themselves, to avert misfortune by seeing how much better their own situation is.
The contrast between the glaring poverty of these places and these Western tourists strikes me. Since 2006, and the end of the obligatory visa for foreigners, visitor numbers have continued to grow. “You want protection against radioactivity? Have vodka,” and here I am alone with my guide in the centre of Prypyat at the end of the day downing shots of vodka in one gulp. Humanity has humour. I sleep in Chernobyl, in a hotel, pristine white inside and made of sheet metal. There is no moon, the night is dark, there are no street lights and, above all, not the slightest noise – the end of the world.
Here, we come to confirm the truth of a nightmare.
Born in Paris in 1972, Ambroise Tézenas graduated from the Applied Arts School of Vevey, Switerland in 1994. His first monograph Beijing, theatre of the people, won the European Publisher’s Award for Photography in 2006. Based in Paris, his work appears regularly in major international publications including the New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker, and is held in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France public collection.
*Numbers are attributed to the venues.
**The program will be updated.
***The organizer reserves the right to make changes to the event program.