KAUNAS PHOTO, the longest-running annual photographic festival in the Baltic States, based in Kaunas, is a platform of premieres of emerging talents. “Photo World” (China) titled KAUNAS PHOTO as a festival on crossroads of European photography. The current objective is to become a friendly festival to its audience as well as to the participating artists.
In collaboration with LensCulture, KAUNAS PHOTO festival announces an Open Call for its 18th edition, inviting photographers to propose their works and offering exhibiting opportunities as well as participation at New KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Award, consisting of a solo exhibition at the largest photography gallery in the Baltic States, Kaunas Photography Gallery and a 2500 EUR monetary prize. Open Call provides opportunities to be selected to the festival exhibition and projection program. All exhibiting artists, selected via KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Open Call will be offered artist fees.
KAUNAS PHOTO festival opening events will start on September 3, 2021 with KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Exhibition. Festival’s events and outdoor exhibitions will run until the end of October.
Topic of the year: AGE
“Being young is foolish”, one could sometimes hear in Lithuanian elderly say. Or, “new generations are lost to computer screens” and “would be uncapable to survive” in the off-line world. This clash of philosophies is not only based on real-time conditions, but on ways generations see life.
In 2021, KAUNAS PHOTO festival turns eighteen, and enters the adult age. Therefore, it will focus on threshold of coming of age, becoming adult, pros and cons, stories and senses of being small, young, teenage, parent, mid-age, retired, with or without grand-children, hobby, job, retirement savings facing the sunset of life. Works relating to general or specific aspects of choices of life, crisis, joys, traditions, stereotypes, taboos, social norms and implications of big data society on age groups is of an interest. Pandemic and the ways people of different age groups cope with isolation are among the possible current topics. A festival, strongly associated with documentary photography, but indulgent to ironic or even humorous treatment of subjects by artists, KAUNAS PHOTO is looking for artists who observe, analyze, co-create with people – both with those at the edge of crossroads of life and those who have seen it all, changes of currency, political systems, changing technologies and borders.
In numerous countries of the world, 18 is the age of leaving school, or leaving hometown for metropolis, travelling the world (as it used to be before the pandemic), choosing whom to vote for, maybe getting driver’s licence, possibly diving into the unknown and undescribable quest of experience of adult night and day life. Youth life in its daily struggle and taste, difficulties and victories will be sought after by KAUNAS PHOTO 2021, the 18 year-young festival.
Stories and concepts of what can be done to improve young people’s lives, living and working opportunities and conditions, as well as what young people do to transform today’s world are very welcome in photographic works. The age threshold of 18 is often associated with self-determination, own decisions, consent whether or not a person allows his/her image to be publicized via photography. Nonetheless, in full awareness that both photographing and exhibiting images of children and youth, can be delicate and challenging, organizers of KAUNAS PHOTO invite photographers to be broad-minded about interpretations of the youth topic.
KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021 topic corresponds to the general topic of the festival, AGE.
Who can submit?
All Photographers/Artists, regardless of their age, nationality and place of residence are invited to submit work. KAUNAS PHOTO festival is known for its focus on documentary, but all styles, genres and approaches to photography are accepted and exhibited. Both completed works and those in progress can are welcome.
Photographers/Artists with KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Award in focus, should ask themselves – “is my work ready for a space of 200 square metres?”.
Entry consists of:
- title of the work;
- 12-15 images (2000 px on the longer side, JPG 90% quality);
- short description of the work (up to 250 words);
- short written BIO (up to 250 words), followed by photographer’s contacts: email, phone number/s, mailing address.
- Non-refundable entry fee of 25 EUR, per series entered, payable at the time of submission. No more than two series per artist accepted.
For the best of understanding, texts must be in English.
Entries accepted via LensCulture. Direct link:
May 29 JUNE 10, 2021
Photographers/Artists are encouraged to enter works as early as possible, since the festival curatorial team will be reviewing and studying submissions as soon as they will be arriving.
Open Call Opportunities
Photographers/Artists submitting works to Open Call can be enrolled in Kaunas Photo 2021 in the following ways:
- works can be included into KAUNAS PHOTO festival program, its indoor and outdoor exhibitions, presented in squares in Kaunas;
- Projection events;
- KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Award – Finalist’s and Winner’s exhibitions.
The Jury panel of decision-making curators on the Jury panel, who will review all entries and eventually are potential providers of opportunities through their platforms, institutions and networks.
The New KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Award with 2500 EUR prize
The KAUNAS PHOTO STAR tradition started in 2010, awarding the best participant of portfolio reviews with a solo exhibition at Kaunas Photography Gallery and paying respect to a probable future star of photography. Since 2018, the KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Winner also receives a 2500 EUR prize, and a joint exhibition of Finalists is held and opened on the same day. Possible income tax obligations, eventually imposed by the country of citizenship of the Winner, will be his/her responsibility. For a Lithuanian citizen, this prize would be tax-exempt.
KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Finalists exhibitions across the venues of Kaunas old town and the Winner’s exhibition at Kaunas Photography Gallery will open on September 3, 2021.
Selection of KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Finalists and Winner
KAUNAS PHOTO STAR selection has two stages.
In the first one, Jury panel members review and vote on all submitted entries. Ratings produced by the votes serve for shortlisting the 8 Finalists.
In the second stage, a joint Curatorial board of KAUNAS PHOTO festival and Kaunas Photography Gallery confirm or decide on finalization of the shortlist. If the standing of the first 8 positions is evident, 9th and 10th runners-up do not have the same number of votes, the 8 Finalists are confirmed by standings only. If two portfolios of one single Photographer/Artist make into the top 8, then the next voted runner-up is accepted into the list of 8 Finalists. If the No. 8 candidate has the same amount of votes as No. 9 or No. 10, the Curatorial board has right to make a decision about the 8th candidate or enlarge the group of Finalists. The published list of Finalists does not indicate any ratings.
The Curatorial board selects the KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Winner from the 8 Finalists, prioritizing the work that is innovative in the use of photographic medium, exploration of the topic, strong in artistic maturity, sufficient and suitable for the large space of Kaunas Photography Gallery.
Open Call from KAUNAS PHOTO festival is followed by the Jury work that will select the shortlist of Finalists. All the shortlisted Photographers/Artists will have their exhibitions at the festival in 2021. The number of Finalists will be recommended by the festival and decided by the Jury. The Winner, selected from the Finalists by a joint board of curators of KAUNAS PHOTO festival and Kaunas Photography Gallery, will celebrate his/her exhibition at Kaunas Photography Gallery and receive the monetary prize. The decision regarding the Winner cannot be appealed.
The exhibitions of both, Finalists’ and the Winner’s works will open on Friday, September 3, 2021. The KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021 Winner is only revealed upon opening of the doors of Kaunas Photography Gallery.
Every KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021 Finalist agrees:
- to provide the festival with a set of 20 – 40 digital files of print quality and additional materials, if needed: texts, materials for installations, etc. The materials will serve for detailed assessment of projects in the progress of selection of the Winner, as well as for the production of the exhibition by KAUNAS PHOTO festival. In 2021, due to COVID-19 driven uncertainties, transportation option is completely excluded;
- to propose possible ways of exhibiting his or her work, but accept the final decisions of the exhibition architects of KAUNAS PHOTO festival;
- that no site-specific or content information about Finalists’ exhibitions will be disclosed until the date and hours of the exhibition openings.
Every KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021 Finalist is entitled to:
- participation in a joint KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Award exhibition, that will be produced by and at the expenses of KAUNAS PHOTO festival;
- Due to COVID-19 risks, complicated travel arrangements, eventual obligations of self-isolation resulting after travel, KAUNAS PHOTO festival will not undertake travel arrangements and accommodation, but will pay every KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Finalist an Artist fee of 250 EUR against an invoice delivered by the Photographer/Artist or a contract. The Artist fees will be settled no later than until October 31, 2021.
KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Jury Members
Yan QI – deputy director of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre (Beijing, China)
Fred Boucher – Photaumnales festival and Usimage Biennale Director (Clermont/Beauvais, France)
Thomas Schirmboeck – ZEPHYR- Raum für Fotografie, Leader (Mannheim, Germany)
Gintaras Česonis – Kaunas Photography Gallery, Leader (Lithuania)
Anna Dannemann – The Photographers’ Gallery, Senior Curator (London, UK)
Julia Durkin – Auckland Festival of Photography director (New Zealand)
Kristina Juraitė – KAUNAS PHOTO co-founder, professor at Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania)
Donatas Stankevičius – KAUNAS PHOTO and Kaunas Photography Gallery curator (Lithuania)
Mariusz Forecki – Pix.House gallery, Co-Founder (Poznan, Poland)
Mindaugas Kavaliauskas – KAUNAS PHOTO founder, curator (Lithuania)
Previous Winners of KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Award who have held their exhibitions at Kaunas Photography Gallery:
- Chiara Panariti, Gianfranco Ferraro (Italy, 2020)
- Maxime Matthys (Belgium, 2019)
- Simon Menner (Germany, 2018)
- Mayumi Suzuki (Japan, 2017)
- Julien Lombardi (France, 2016)
- Jeniffer Thoreson (USA, 2015)
- Andrejs Strokins (Latvia, 2013)
- Andrei Liankevich (Belarus, 2012)
- Luca Zanier (Switzerland, 2011)
- Eric Lusito (France, 2010)
Inclusion into KAUNAS PHOTO festival program
If selected to exhibit at KAUNAS PHOTO festival, Photographers/Artists will be contacted personally. Their names will appear on KAUNAS PHOTO web along with the announcement of the festival program.
Works will be produced at the expense of the festival to match site-specific settings.
Photographers whose works selected to KAUNAS PHOTO 2021 exhibition program will be also offered an artist fee.
KAUNAS PHOTO 2021 Calendar
April 28 – JUNE 10, 23:59 entries accepted, entrants’ local times – Open Call;
June 14 – last day for 8 Finalists to send in 20-40 high resolution files for KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Winner assessment, exhibition production (via WeTransfer to email@example.com)
June 18 – Announcement of the Finalists on KaunasPhoto.com
September 3 – KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Finalists’ and Winner’s exhibition Openings;
Events, meetings (online and on-site), educational activities, projections, exhibition tours – until October 31, 2021.
Author’s rights and other legal aspects
While submitting works to the KAUNAS PHOTO 2021 open call via LensCulture, a photographer declares that he/she is the only owner of the economic author’s rights to the pictures submitted. Photographer agrees that the pictures submitted can be reproduced in materials and forms of artistic or media presentation of KAUNAS PHOTO festival outcomes, such as flyers, invitation cards, post cards, posters, catalogs, projections, slideshows, web sites, including but not limited to that of KAUNAS PHOTO festival for unlimited time in unlimited territory without any royalty payments. Entrants accept their responsibility for the right to the image of persons, models, places, objects or trade marks appearing in the pictures submitted to KAUNAS PHOTO festival.
KAUNAS PHOTO festival does not limit the photographers’ /artists’ moral or economic rights to promote, broadcast, exhibit, publish and sell their works submitted to KAUNAS PHOTO festival’s Open Call.
Prints produced by KAUNAS PHOTO festival, can be either left at the festival’s collection or destroyed after the exhibition, based on the decision of the Photographer/Artist.
In 2017, ”The Nemunas Journey” exhibition by Vitus Saloshanka (Belarus/Germany), partly created during two Residencies provided by KAUNAS PHOTO (2015 and 2017), after the first show during the festival in 2017, was presented at Prienai Cultural Centre and Prospektas Gallery of Photography in Vilnius, with artist being present to all opening events, trips & accommodation covered by the inviting parties. In 2019, this exhibition went to “InterPhoto” festival in Bialystok, Poland. The artist is reinvited, in some cases supplementary artist fees were paid. This is just one example of works living on after KAUNAS PHOTO.
About KAUNAS PHOTO festival
Founded in 2004 by Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, KAUNAS PHOTO aims to be the stage for the future stars of photography. Being a part of Photo Festival Union and Festivals Of Light Organization, KAUNAS PHOTO festival is the longest-running photographic festival in the Baltic states. The festival is a platform for dialogue around contemporary photographic creation between North and South, East and West.
LensCulture is a global community of photographers and industry professionals. As one of the world’s largest online destinations for discovering contemporary photography, LensCulture also provides some of the best opportunities for global exposure, international recognition, ongoing learning and creative development. LensCulture is committed to inspiring and empowering its thriving community of over 2.5 million, across 145 countries and in 15 languages around the world.