Video of my presentation at the Kharkiv Photo Forum 2020

October 20, 2020

Dear friends,

For all those who are interested in Eastern Europe photography, presenting to you video presentation that was made by me in frames of the Kharkiv Photo Forum.

BALTIC AND UKRAINIAN ART PHOTOGRAPHERS: SOCIAL INTERSECTIONS AND VISUAL INSPIRATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The overview of the presentation

BALTIC AND UKRAINIAN ART PHOTOGRAPHERS: SOCIAL INTERSECTIONS AND VISUAL INSPIRATIONS

Many interesting social connections and inspirations took place among art photographers from several Soviet republics during the 1960s–1980s, however
research on the history of art photography mainly focused and described prominent individuals and photography groups in local context of one city or
country. The influences and inspirations that helped in the development of art photographers’ main styles are still under-researched.

Nevertheless, interactions between photographers inside the Soviet Union were extensive and there was a place for mutual inspirations among photographers from Baltic states and Ukraine. These intersections included groups and individuals, the unofficial “Vremya” group, founded in 1971 in Kharkiv, Ukraine had social interactions and mutual inspirations with selected members of the Society of Art Photographers of the Lithuanian SSR, officially established in 1969 and benefitted from the Soviet authorities. The informal “Keturi” group from Chernivtsi, Ukraine, which was founded in 1977, mainly had contact with Latvian photographers and members of so-called “A” group, created in 1984.

This presentation focuses on providing historical awareness of social connections among the Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Latvian art photographers, their influence on each other, as well as their differences, and to trace the process of migration of creative ideas and technical approaches in the context of the Soviet censorship that shaped the direction of photography of that period.

These groups of art photographers sought freedom of creative expression, developed artistically and expanded the limits of social reportage, namely, Vitas Luckus and Andrejs Grants. In some cases, photographers used what were then more exotic approaches, like, the use of wide-angle perspective in works of Aleksandras Macijauskas and later Boris Mikhailov, Evgeniy Pavlov and Victor Kochetov. Some techniques as collage and photomontage were used by Vitalijus Butyrinas, Oleksandr Suprun, Vilhelms Mihailovskis and Oleg Maliovany, and isohelia and photographics by Rimgaudas Maleckas, Valters Jānis Ezeriņš, Oleg Maliovany and Juri Rupin. Another example, conceptualized hand-coloring of Boris Mikhailov that was later used by Vytautas Balčytis and Algirdas Šeškus. Research includes more similarities between other photographers that may not be so evident at first glance. The visual similarities between some works of Baltic and Ukrainian art photographers raises the question about the nature of artistic influence, and if it was due to the conscious copying of others’ styles, or to the unconscious use of the ideas that were popular then.

Analysis of works and social connections of selected art photographers, who actively worked in the field of photography in the 1960s–1980s, is evidence that the works produced in these separate locations reflect differences in the political and cultural surroundings specific to those places, along with some features in common due to their interactions. These interactions resulted in similarities between individual photographers and their styles that were used during those times which created new platforms for emerging photography art groups in Ukraine and the Baltic states.

 

More about the Kharkiv Photo Forum here: http://kphf.com.ua/en

More videos at the Kharkiv Photo Forum Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXiPw6O_TJ80Bk6KJRmEaHg

To download the catalog of the Kharkiv Photo Forum: http://kphf.com.ua/en/catalog