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Lithuanian Press Photographers Club  ::  In English  ::  Lithuanian Press Photographers Club


The entire world sees people of the same trade or profession and other like-minded people uniting into clubs or associations where they can share their ideas, experiences, as well as escape from routine and relax. Several photographers working for the largest Lithuanian media met in the laboratory to have their films developed one summer day in 1998. The weather was nice, and they decided to enjoy summer outside. Rest often helps conceive good ideas: why don’t we set up a club? They meant a photo club of course. Soon afterwards the club was set up. This happened on a beautiful summer weekend in an initiator’s estate where about a dozen photographers – all except one were men - gathered. Many, probably the majority, still remember joyful photos revealing the atmosphere of the inaugural meeting: the naked founders hiding their “pride” behind their cameras…

The start

The club started as an informal gathering of photographers who worked with “Canon” cameras. Their colleagues, other camera fans, joined them later. The club could have remained an unofficial body with one or two annual meetings of its members from different parts of Lithuania, but for one weekend… The idea was to get together somewhere at a lake and to stage a photographic “action”. That is how one of the greatest actions of the club “Holy Day – Holy Night. 23 June 2001” was organised. As many as 36 photographers took lots of snapshots in the Lithuanian sea resort Šventoji. This record in terms of the number of photographers involved in producing one photo report was recorded in the Lithuanian record book. The photographers spent Saturday dashing after the inhabitants of Šventoji, after holidaymakers, hikers, merrymakers, and shadows, and when they all gathered to look at the results - an exhibition of sixty photos - on Sunday, they understood that it was important not only to relax together, it was important to get together for recording things and people in their country, to make photography more popular, and to meet their colleagues. The decision that originated the Lithuanian Press Photographers Club was made: to register the club and to meet more often at different events.

More than five years’ achievements – much and little

Has the Club done much? Yes, but it could have done more – one always wants more… An annual contest, Lithuanian Press Photo, followed by an exhibition and a photo album giving the wide and multifaceted panorama of Lithuania’s life is one of the priority tasks of the Club. The contestants show people, events and the environment. The contest, as an idea, attempts at reproducing realistic life without beautifying it and at looking at life from unexpected photographic perspectives. The contest is open for all Lithuanian full-time or amateur press photographers, not only Club members. Beside the annual targeted exhibition the Club holds others too. The exhibition We Are the Presidents must have been popular among photo fans as much as among politicians and political analysts. The Lithuanian Press Photographers Club could not but pay attention to the situation with seventeen people running for the President. Being the first exhibition of the kind in Lithuania it depicted Lithuanian presidential election in two parts: pre-election campaigns and the night when the preliminary outcome of the second round of the election was announced. The opening of part two of the exhibition had two outstanding guests - two candidates who stood for the President in the second round: Rolandas Paksas and Valdas Adamkus.

Regular events where the Club’s responsibility is shared with F. Bajoraičio Public Library (the Municipality of Šilutė District) and the paper published by the Municipalities of Šilutė and Pagėgiai Šilokarčema clearly show the focus of the photo sessions called Šilutė: Floods and People. The project aims to show in photos the uniqueness of the Baltic coastal area: floods, people affected, and the beauty of nature in spring. On an invitation from the oil company Yukos seven members of the Club visited Russia in summer 2003 and took pictures of the company’s oil extraction facilities and plants. In 2004 the Club organised the move The First Day in Europe to record the day of Lithuania’s accession into the European Union. Lithuanian professional and amateur photographers were invited, and over a hundred of them responded and recorded the day, its developments, its moods, flavours, and shades. As a result of 1 May 2004 efforts the CD The First Day in Europe was released and an exhibition under the same name was presented in Brussels.

Here and abroad

Domestic and international popularity of Lithuanian press photography being among the Club’s priority goals translates into cooperation between the Club and similar foreign clubs and organisations. The members of the Lithuanian Press Photographers Club attend international festivals, conferences and workshops. Two years ago our members took part in the international festivals in France (Visa pour l'image" Perpignan) and Russia (Interfoto 2004, Moscow). Last year the delegation of the Club visited Amsterdam to join their colleagues in the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the World Press Photo. Three members of the Club went to Prague to take part in the international photo camp Photo Inter Camp 2005 which hosted seventy photographers from all over the world. Every trip adds experience, facilitates deeper insight into the latest photographic trends and sells Lithuanian press photography. The Club members stage quite a few solo exhibitions both in Lithuania and abroad and engage in international contests and festivals. The Club numerously assisted other efforts to hold contests in Lithuania, as it believes its major mission is to popularise photography.

Awards and activities

The award of the Lithuanian Press Photographers Club Golden Snapshot has been granted to the winners of the annual contest Lithuanian Press Photography since 2003. The winners receive their awards in the Town Hall of Vilnius. Cooperation between the Lithuanian Press Photographers Club and the Lithuanian Journalists’ Union started last year and is expected to give fruit in different areas such as upgrading qualifications by offering workshops (several workshops have already been arranged) and inviting world famous photographers. No less important is acquaintance with global press photo traditions and tendencies to make sure Lithuanian photography remains in the context of the latest developments of the world press photography.

The Club is keen to highlight the significance of press photography and to make sure its voice is heard in newspapers and magazines. Lots of excellent photos are never published for different reasons; therefore the events, held by the Club, such as thematic exhibitions, are appreciated by the community as the source of pleasant emotions and intriguing knowledge. This is because the photographers, members of the Club, employed by the largest press actors, due to their rich personal experience and distinctiveness, see and record the same person or event differently, from different angles. Once the public sees the totality of their views, it can get a realistic picture of our brimming modern life.

Jonas Staselis
President of the Lithuanian Press Photographers Club