Photo artists' seminar Nida 2016: negotiating the truth of photography 0

Tomas Pabedinskas, 2016-09-20
International photo artists' seminar Nida 2016, opening of R. Juškelis exhibition at the Neringa History Museum.

In brief: "Photography has been traveling for several decades from Nida to Nida," wrote Skirmantas Valiulis almost ten years ago. This year, on September 6th to 10th photographer's roads led to Nida for the 39th time and their meetings and discussions raised not only new and relevant, but also repeatedly heard questions that raised doubts about how far photography has actually developed.

It is no coincidence that this year's seminar featured philosopher Nerijus Milerius' lecture on violence in film and photography. Literary, film and visual culture researcher Natalija Arlauskaitė also did not limit herself to artistic photography issues. In her lecture she disclosed the links between image and power. Art critic Laima Kreivytė looked at the history of photography icons through the lens of feminism.

Different approaches, specifically, to the creative photography intersected in the seminar. This year, they were voiced during the lectures, not only by the artists, but also by curators, publishers and art critics. The opportunity of direct acquaintance with creation was offered by the evening presentations of photographers and the review of their works.

On the other hand, it was possible to participate in this year's seminar by simply diving into creative work and at least briefly forgetting about its theoretical and institutional aspects. During the seminar, VDA Nida Art Colony featured Gintautas Trimakas’ analogue photography workshop and in the evening of the 9th of September, artist Aurelija Maknytė drew the viewers into her artistic act near Nida lighthouse.

This year's seminar focused a lot on the history of Lithuanian photography and photography archives. The recent past of Lithuanian photography as well as recently deceased photo artist Romas Juškelis were honored with his exhibition at the Neringa History Museum. It was possible to learn about the development of the Ukrainian conceptual photography at the Roman Pyatkovka's exhibition held at the Klaipėda Photography gallery. However, perhaps the biggest highlight of the seminar program dedicated to the history of photography was the presentation of photographic researchers Agrnė Narušytė and Margarita Matulytė's book Camera Obscura. Lithuanian History of Photography 1893–1945 (Camera obscura. Lietuvos fotografijos istorija 1893–1945) and discussion The attraction of archives. During the discussion, the chairman of the Lithuanian Photographers Association, Gintaras Česonis suggested to not only value and respect the photography archives, but also find ways to make them relevant and give them meaning in the context of the present day.

Photos by Tomas Pabedinskas

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