People of the Ocean, Berta Tilmantaite

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When the baby is born we don’t need a doctor. Everything happens here, on the boat. We don’t have any medicine. We cannot go to the hospital, we’re just staying here for the birth. And mother takes care of the baby,” – says Bungsali, an old looking man, who doesn’t know his age. He spent the whole life on the boat and wants his grandchildren to continue his lifestyle.

The Bajau Laut or Sama Dilaut, also known as sea gypsies, are indigenous ethnic group, retaining a seaborne lifestyle. They live in the boats, roaming in between the Coral Triangle (marine waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste) or settle in small stilt houses, built on the reef or islands. They are traditionally from the Sulu Archipelago in the Phillippines, coastal areas of Mindanao and northern Borneo.

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Projected memories, Berta Tilmantaite

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Berta Tilmantaite is a Lithuanian multimedia journalist. Currently in Lithuania.
Available for assignments (photo/video/writing). Contact: info@godoberta.com

Berta is a licensed scuba diver (PADI) and freediver (AIDA**), so she is able to shoot underwater.

All photographs are available as high quality prints here.
If the photograph You want is not there, please, contact: info@godoberta.com

Clothes with original photo prints are available here.

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Ben Shahn

http://retrophoto.nnm.ru

Ben Shahn was born in Kaunus, Lithuania in 1898. He emigrated to New York with his family in 1906. He became a lithographer’s apprentice after completing his schooling. He later attended both New York University and the National Academy of Design from 1917 to 1921.

In the 1920s Shahn became part of the social realism movement. Social Realism is a term used to describe the works of American artists during the Depression era who were devoted to depicting the social troubles of the suffering urban lower class: urban decay, labor strikes, and poverty. His early work was concerned with political issues of the time, while his later work portrayed the loneliness of the city dweller. Text and lettering formed an integral part of his designs and his work was often inspired by news reports. After working in lithography until 1930, his style crystallized in a series of 23 paintings concerning the Sacco-Vanzetti trial. Shahn came to prominence in the 1930s as with “The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti”. Shahn dealt consistently with social and political themes. He developed a strong and brilliant sense of graphic design revealed in numerous posters. His painting Vacant Lot (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn.) exhibits a poetic realism, whereas his more abstract works are characterized by terse, incisive lines and a lyric ic intensity of color. The Blind Botanist (Wichita Art Mus.) is characteristic of his abstractions. Shahn’s murals include series for the Bronx Central Annex Post Office, New York City.

From 1933 to 1938 he worked as a photographer for the Farm Security Administration, producing masterful images of impoverished rural areas and their inhabitants. Shahn used photographs throughout his career for both composition and content. The photographer position at the FSA was a dream job for Shahn because it provided him the opportunity to travel though Depression-era America taking pictures. He later used those photographs for his paintings years later. Critics in his time felt that using photographs for paintings diminished the value of a painting. However, Shahn’s work became the most popular artist of his age. His work was on the cover of Time and well as the Museum of Modern Art.

Shahn has been described as a man of uncompromising beliefs and an artist who spoke to the world. Shahn continuously adopted new themes and mediums to define the human condition of his time. Active until the end of his career, Shahn was also a distinguished lecturer, teacher, and writer.

Mindaugas Baltmiskis

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Romualdas Pozerskis

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Gunar Binde

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Gunars Binde – one of the most famous photographers of Latvia. The works have become classics Binde photos. Gunars Binde (1933), working professionally since 1964. From 1959 to 2004 he had organized 35 personal exhibitions in countries such as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Georgia, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Balgar, Russia and Poland. His work can be seen not only in Latvia but also photos of museums in the National Museums of France in the office Estampa in Lightboxes B. Hengla in Austria (a collection of about 40 works).
Binde works adorn the collections of photography enthusiasts in Latvia, the United States , Argentina, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria

Algimantas Kezys

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Algimantas Kezys was born in Lithuania in 1928.  Fleeing to the West prior to the Soviet occupation of his native country, Kezys came to the United States in 1950 to study and eventually to be ordained as a Jesuit Priest.  In 1956 he received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Loyola University in Chicago.  Assigned to the Lithuanian province of the Jesuit Fathers he served his countrymen in Chicago and other cities in the United States.  He founded the Lithuanian Photo Library and has served as its president since 1966.  He also founded and is presently Chairman of the Board of the Lithuanian Library Press in Chicago.  From 1974 to 1977 he directed the Lithuanian Youth Center in Chicago.

Kezys fostered his own artistic inclinations by immersing himself in the art of photography, and, in 1965 his artistic talent was recognized with his first exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. He has since exhibited in a number of American and European museums and his work has appeared in magazines and books on both sides of the Atlantic.

His most recent exhibition (May 2000) was in Washington D.C., sponsered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Now a former Jesuit, Kezys operates a small gallery (Galerija) in Stickney, Illinois, that represents Lithuanian artists worldwide and publishes reviews, catalogs, and books on art, religion, and photography.

Christian Narkiewicz-Lane* has written of Kezys,   “…Kezys tends to be the maker of a newly defined world as much as the vehicle of artistic expression will allow.  Here he walks towards and through himself in order to cross the threshold of a broader experience.  The viewer who exists tends to disappear and pass into the image.  This is proof of the possibility of placing oneself in a particular territory, deep in the personal heart of life, as well as plunged into the unknown and into the anonymity of time and space…  the effect is like awakening from a dream – transforming the “apparition” back to the landscape or the cityscape.  The void returns to the silence of nature, however leading to a higher and more defined reason.”

Rimaldas Vikšraitis

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A farmer bends over a dead pig with a blowtorch, a chicken perched on his back. A young girl stares out of a window over the decapitated head of a goat. A drunk bites the ear of another drunk who is biting the ear of a pig’s head on a plate. Welcome to the strange, frightening and darkly humorous world of Rimaldas Viksraitis, a 55-year-old photographer who travels through the benighted villages of his native Lithuania with a camera tied to his bicycle.

In July, Viksraitis won the prestigious Discovery Award at the Arles photography festival, having been nominated by Martin Parr, who described the work as “slightly insane and wonderfully surreal”. That about captures it. The motifs that recur in Viksraitis’s work are, in no particular order, chickens, vodka, breasts, dirt, animal carcasses and inebriated, often semi-naked, pensioners. In terms of photographic reference points, Boris Mikhailov’s work springs to mind, though his images of a bleak post-Soviet netherworld of alcoholism and madness are altogether harsher and more detached.

The more I looked, the more I was reminded of the early photographs of the Birmingham-born Richard Billingham, who turned his camera so revealingly and startlingly on his own dysfunctional family in his book Ray’s a Laugh. There is the same kind of unflinching gaze at work here, and the same kind of intimate identification with the subject. Interestingly, when I ask Viksraitis to name his prime influences, he cites “the films of the Fellini”, and, in a sense, he has created his own version of the great director’s semi-autobiographical Amarcord in a series of still images that shock and provoke as much as they intrigue.

As his photographs suggest, Viksraitis is quite a character. He was born in 1954 in the village of Sunkariai and contracted tuberculosis as a child. As a result, he is disabled and one senses that his otherness has helped him create these startling images. There is something, too, of the imp about him. When I met him at the gallery before his show opened, I asked why there are so many semi-naked women in his work. He laughed long and hard and had an animated conversation with his translator, Iena, who told me mysteriously: “Rimaldas says that he grew up surrounded by women and knows all their secrets.”

Viksraitis graduated in photography from the Vilnius technical school and his mentor is the great Lithuanian photojournalist Antanas Sutkus. For 10 years he worked as a commercial photographer, mainly doing wedding portraits, before receiving a grant from the Lithuanian ministry of culture. He has been photographing his friends and neighbours since 1971, when he first bought an old Soviet Smena 8 camera for 15 roubles. Grimaces of the Weary Village is the latest in a series of wonderfully titled visual narratives that began with Slaughter (1982-1986) and continued with Nude in a Desolate Farm (1991) and This Crazy World (1995).

The social backdrop to these powerful images is the decline of village life since the break-up of the Soviet Union and the attendant disintegration of the local farming system. People drink so much, he says, “because they are lost”. He shows me some images of a group of fresh-faced young boys posing in swimming trunks by a river. “I grew up with these people,” he says. “I know them since they were children but now the farms have fallen down, the work has gone and they have nothing so they are always drinking. Some of them are in prison from drinking. There is nothing else to do but they do not complain.” He identifies some of the boys, now grown-up and broken by circumstance, in the photographs on the wall. There is nothing else to say.

Viksraitis is also, as Parr has pointed out, a storyteller, and a director of his own narratives. In one disturbing image, a man lies in a drunken sleep beside a young boy, who stares unfazed at the camera, a cigarette dangling from his lips. Like the image of the girl and the goat’s head, this image occupies that shady hinterland between staged photography and social reportage. Some viewers may find his images voyeuristic, but the drunken abandonment and chaos of the villagers is as telling as the grime and poverty of their living quarters. Many young people have left these villages in search of work in the cities; those left behind seem unmoored. The traditional way of life that sustained them has disintegrated like the barns that stand empty and decaying in the nearby fields.

Revealingly, too, Viksraitis sometimes places himself at the centre of his work. Two of the more mysterious shots are staged tableaux: in the first, he stands naked, his back to the camera, balancing a huge metal bucket on his head; in the second, again naked, he walks in front of a long line of empty bottles. He seems to be saying, I am just like the people I photograph, even as he displays his physical difference. The camera, too, of course, makes him different, signals his detachment from the chaos and disorder around him. He grew up, he says, “between marshes and clay”, and now he is an acute and graphic chronicler of that alluvial world, a world that seems to be sinking under the weight of its own sadness and despair.

Alexandras Macijauskas

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Romualdas Rakauskas

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Israëlis Bidermanas

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Algis Griškevičius









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Antanas Sutkus








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