Conversation with the head of the festival Kaunas Photo Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, 2013-04-18
Head of the festival, photographer Mindaugas Kavaliauskas

In brief: The tenth international festival of art photography Kaunas Photo invited people to three photography exhibitions, meetings with their authors and evenings of projections, it also offered to photographers to gather experience in creative workshops. Events of the festival started with the opening of the exhibition “Thanks for Greetings” at M.Žilinskas Art Gallery on April 11, other expositions were opened at Kaunas Photography Gallery and Meno Parkas. All exhibitions are related by the theme of celebration, but in the conversation with M. Kavaliauskas, the interlocutors tried to disassociate from the festive noise and to discuss the events of this year as well as long-term tendencies of the festival and the changes in contemporary photography. The head of Kaunas Photo festival M.Kavaliauskas is interviewed by the critic of photography Tomas Pabedinskas in the text.

As for the organisation of the festival, M.Kavaliauskas states that it was never easy – neither when the festival was organised by three persons with several assistants nor later. The festival of this year is special by the fact that M.Kavaliauskas along with Donatas Stankevičius, Ieva Meilutė-Svinkūnienė, Gintaras Česonis prepared for the festival successfully and that the authors of exhibitions were noticed not only by M.Kavaliauskas but also by Donatas, Ieva and other team members of the festival.

When asked to generalise the formula of the festival that lasts for ten years, the head of the festival emphasises the change. According to him, exhibitions of 2004 and 2006 were dedicated to some particular countries and regions, while in exhibitions from 2007 to 2009 spring programmes were dedicated to this aspect. This year the organisers decided to transform this part into master classes dedicated to classical photography. The idea was implemented by inviting the photographer Aleksandr Gliadelov, an expert of classical photography.

T.Pabedinskas notices that the themes of the festivals of several years are related by some “lightness”. The head of the festival answers that he had themes in the head for several years ahead. “Still, it is not always equally easy to implement them. Sometimes they are more serious, sometimes – less. Although humour was announced as the theme of the festival only once, its motifs repeat in exhibitions of several years,” M.Kavaliauskas notices.

“The theme about celebration of the festival of this year is simple, but it is interesting to look at it from another angle than the traditional festive photography. The stereotype is alive in Lithuanian photography that celebration is based on ethnical traditions. In the exhibition authors show in the narrative or documentary form what celebration means in human life – from children’s birthdays to dances of old people,” the organiser says.

When asked about future plans for the programme of Kaunas Photo festival, M.Kavaliauskas states that an archive of works of the festival participants has been formed. The idea is to give life to those photographs. Therefore, they are shown in projections during the festival exhibitions. In future the organisers would like to make this collection available for researchers and students in the electronic form.


Photos by Erlendas Bartulis

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