The Winner of the 18th KAUNAS PHOTO festival’s competition on the theme “Age”—81-year-old photographer Marna Clarke from USA

The two-day long opening events of the 18th international photo art festival KAUNAS PHOTO culminated on the evening of September 3 with the announcement of the Winner of the festival’s competition. KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021 Award was granted to the eighty-one-year-old photographer Marna Clarke from USA and her work entitled “Growing Old”. The series will be on display in Kaunas as an outdoor exhibition at Vienybės Square until the end of October.

On September 2 and 3, the festival KAUNAS PHOTO opened exhibitions in nine indoor venues and five open-air public spaces in the city. The evening programme featured projections of works submitted to the festival’s open call on the theme of “Age”, a screening of the photographs from the series “Do Not Forget, You Are Not In Lithuania” by Martha Thomas (USA), accompanied by the readings of her aunt’s Daina Klimauskaitė’s memoirs of the youth spent in deportation in Siberia. The memoirs were read by the Lithuanian theatre and cinema actress Olita Dautartaitė, in presence of Daina Klimauskaitė herself and the author Martha Thomas, who is currently visiting Lithuania.

The Finalists of the KAUNAS PHOTO STAR competition greeted the audience via remote video conference, and after the screening of their series, the founder and art director of the festival Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, and the head of the Kaunas Photography Gallery, who is also a member of the the international and local KAUNAS PHOTO STAR jury panel, Gintaras Česonis, announced the Winner of the KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021 Award—Marna Clarke (USA) with her series of photographs “Getting Old”.

“On my 70th birthday, I woke from a dream in which I had rounded a corner and seen the end. This disturbing dream moved me to begin photographing the two of us, chronicling our time of growing old,” says the photographer about her work submitted to the KAUNAS PHOTO STAR competition on the theme “Age”, and hopes that her photographs will help others to come to terms with the inevitable future and to feel more comfortable in their own old age.

© Marna Clarke (JAV) “Growing old”

A total of eight series of the Finalists were shortlisted to compete for the main prize of the KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021 competition: “The Animal Within” by Fábio Cunha (Portugal), “Grandma Divers” by Alain Schroeder (Belgium), “Cut It Short” by Michal Solarski & Tomasz Liboska (United Kingdom / Poland), “The Suspended Youth” by Rosa Mariniello (Italy), “±100” by Magdalena Stengel (Germany), “Belles Mômes” by Clelia Rochat (Belgium), “Do Not Forget, You Are Not In Lithuania” by Martha Thomas (USA) and the wining series “Growing Old” by Marna Clarke (USA) with, who will receive a 2500 EUR cash prize. The works of all Finalists are integrated into the festival programme and are shown in the galleries and cultural venues of Kaunas as well as in the city’s open-air spaces.

The exhibitions of the 18th KAUNAS PHOTO festival can be found here, and the continuously updated events calendar here.

KAUNAS PHOTO is the longest running annual international photo art festival in Lithuania and the Baltic States. The festival founded by Mindaugas Kavaliauskas in 2004 is organized by the public institution “Šviesos raštas”. KAUNAS PHOTO is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture as one of the strategic international art events in Lithuania.

The 18th KAUNAS PHOTO festival announces the Finalists of the KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021 Award

In 2021, KAUNAS PHOTO festival turns eighteen, and enters the adult age. Therefore, the festival invited the photographers to submit entries to the KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021 contest on the theme “Age” and waited for 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.

© Marna Clarke (USA) Growing Old

The traditional KAUNAS PHOTO STAR competition, which is now happening for the eleventh year, received 115 series from 43 countries around the world, including entries from distant countries such as Mexico, Iraq, Australia, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Participants are competing for the grand prize of the competition – a solo exhibition at Kaunas Photography Gallery during the KAUNAS PHOTO festival and a cash prize of 2500 EUR. All other finalists will have their exhibitions shown in galleries, museums and open-air spaces of Kaunas.

© Alain Schroeder (Belgium) Grandma Divers

All entries were reviewed and evaluated by an international Jury panel of photography experts:

  • 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)

© Michal Solarski & Tomasz Liboska (Poland / United Kingdom) Cut It Short

Following the experts’ votes on all works submitted to the competition in the LensCulture system, on July 9, 2021, the joint Curatorial Board of the festival KAUNAS PHOTO and Kaunas Photography Gallery gathered for a virtual meeting and approved the list of the Top 8 KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021 Award finalists:

  • Marna Clarke (USA) Growing Old
  • Fábio Cunha (Portugal) The Animal Within
  • Alain Schroeder (Belgium) Grandma Divers
  • Michal Solarski & Tomasz Liboska (United Kingdom / Poland) Cut It Short
  • Rosa Mariniello (Italy) The Suspended Youth
  • Magdalena Stengel (Germany) ±100
  • Clelia Rochat (Belgium) Belles Mômes
  • Martha Thomas (USA) Do Not Forget You Are Not In Lithuania

© Rosa Mariniello (Italy) The Suspended Youth

After analyzing the photographic series of the finalists presented in wide selections and high-resolution files, the joint Curatorial Board will meet again at the end of the week to elect the Winner of KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2021. 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.

KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Finalists’ exhibition openings will take place in Kaunas on September 3, 2021. The winner will be announced on the same day, September 3, when the opening series of KAUNAS PHOTO STAR Finalists’ exhibition will culminate at the door of Kaunas Photography Gallery.

The programme of KAUNAS PHOTO 2021 will be published closer to the festival dates. You can follow the news on the festival’s social networks at Facebook and Instagram (@KaunasPhoto). To receive the latest news and updates in your email inbox—suscribe to KAUNAS PHOTO newsletter at the following  link:

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 is a platform for dialogue around contemporary photographic creation between North and South, East and West. KAUNAS PHOTO festival is organized by the NGO “Šviesos raštas”.

KAUNAS PHOTO 2021 is funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture.
KAUNAS PHOTO STAR partners: Kaunas Photography Gallery, LensCulture.

© Magdalena Stengel (Germany) ±100


© Fábio Cunha (Portugal) The Animal Within


© Clelia Rochat (Belgium) Belles Mômes


© Martha Thomas (USA) Do Not Forget You Are Not In Lithuania