“Kaunas, Moscow, Montreal, Paris...
The Line is endless.
Every city with a bit of self-esteem seems to want one: a photo festival.
<...> Kaunas has the longest-running photographic festival in the Baltic states and is a good platform of dialogue between North and South, East and West.“
„Katalog“ magazine, Denmark, 24/1, 2012
For the 9th consecutive year Kaunas shows the self esteem and respect to the art of photography, its creators and promoters by celebrating "Kaunas Photo" festival. The festival is organized by the Kaunas branch of Lithuanian Photo Artist's Association and VšĮ Šviesos raštas with the starting support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and Kaunas municipality. Still, it would be impossible without tens of public institutions, private companies and hundreds of individuals who bring their partnership and support.
The 9th "Kaunas Photo" festival will ask everyone - “What have you seen and experienced?”
The main exhibition ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY in M.Žilinskas Art Gallery, the central art space of Kaunas, will reflect upon trends and transitions in the profession, obsession, creation and exhibition of photography. The includes works and curatorial efforts of more than 50 people will invite to take a fresh look at the phenomenon of photography.
Some 15 more exhibitions, most of which premieres, go beyond photographic culture and raise down-to-earth questions. Photography still remains as a medium of strategy of seeing, but the reality with its memories, discoveries, dialogues and conflicts will sustain. Every exhibition opening will be presented by a different experts, outstanding personalities. Exhibition opening tours will have themes: international photography, Lithuanian photography, photography about Kaunas.
Photo nights will feature both, “real movies” and the slide-shows and short multimedia creations on works exhibited in shows, tributes to participating artists. The duet / duel format revives in the meeting of one working collective and another to-be-found-in-Kaunas collective. The last Photo Night will be dedicated to KAUNAS PHOTO STAR portfolio review's photographers their nominations and the announcement of the winner, surely web-casted for everyone, everywhere.
Over half-a-hundred photographers will meet experts of photography at the third portfolio review and competition event KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2012, which is starting to establish itself as a fair of talents and opportunities. Participants of previous years enjoy the results having found ways to exhibitions, publications, agencies in Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark, Greece, Austria and other countries. This year the portfolio reviews have started on an Internet platform, where photographers' works are being reviewed by selected experts of photography from 5 continents. Nonetheless, the value of the real face-to-face review remains the keystone event. The traditional photographers' night on Friday will be spiced up by a variety of invitations to photographers to hold personal exhibitions in important photography spaces in Europe in 2013, that will be shared by 5 photographers, next to the winner's prize, all-inclussive invitation to Kaunas Photography Gallery.
Those curious, who will not limit themselves to observing the congratulations exhibition openings, will be able to assist in talks / debates and know more about works and their creators. The debates will be moderated by Lithuanian and international photography experts.
For the first time, a group of enthusiasts are intensely working on an OFF version of the festival, whispering about the numerous surprises.
This year again over two hundreds of people from tens of countries from five continents will come together or join their forces, talents and hearts though distance to make the 9th "Kaunas Photo" festival an interesting, enlightening and inspiring experience.
"Kaunas Photo" festival this year goes to France, collaborating with the festival of Photaumnales in Beauvais, presenting a Lithuanian photography exhibition that tells a story of Lithuania and its people during the past half a century. This exhibition “LT – a tribe, traditions, trends” is honoured to be the central exhibition of the Photaumnales festival, presented at the National Gallery of Carpet, welcoming the delegation of Lithuanian photographers. A part of the projection program of „Photaumnales“ opening day will celebrate Lithuanian photography too.
I sincerely hope that the 9th "Kaunas Photo" festival will offer wings to real fans of photography.
Some photographers will find ways to the world of art photography through a meeting of international image community in a relatively globally unimportant town of Kaunas.
Others will find like-minded people, and feel togetherness in the company of the international image community, enjoying fresh photography, unseen works, unheard-of names.
Every year, "Kaunas Photo" festival is covered in magazines, blogs around the world with most of them admiring the event. But believing in writers, articles, quotations, there is still a chance to make a wrong opinion about things. Let's say ... “Arles 2012 is dead. Long live Arles 2013. Whatever happens then, it couldn’t possibly be worse than this. Let’s not be hypocritical or too well behaved. Let’s say out loud what everyone else has been saying under their breath. This year’s festival was a failure.“ This was written by Jean-Jacques Naudet on “Le journal de la Photographie” daily blog. Many of those, who did not go to Arles, the 2012 version of the father of photo festivals, might consider the article as a decisive argument. Everyone makes his/her own mind.
And we, the organizers of "Kaunas Photo" festival, will remember Arles 2012 as the festival of mind-blowing news. In the "Kaunas Photo" festival presentation in the space of debates, Lucien Clergue, founder of Arles rencontres disclosed something unsaid for the first time: “If we have Rencontres d'Arles today, it is thanks to Lithuania”, referring to his accidental and decisive meeting with Izis Bidermanas, exile from Lithuania, who at the photo club of Arles in 1954 advised the young violonist to take more pictures, which Lucien followed for the rest of his life... For me this was a discovery that I was looking for during the pervious 9 visits to Arles!
In quest of your own vision, come to Kaunas, be a part of "Kaunas Photo" festival.
The opening events are on September 4-8. Exhibitions and other events are up until October 14.
Who knows, what kind of surprise you can come across.
Breathe in photography!
Founder and art director of KAUNAS PHOTO festival