A project by Laurentina Miksiene

Modern society is surrounded by photographic images. The proliferation and ease of use of photography has made it an integral part of life, as a participant in society. Collection of photographic images in physical albums or on digital media – allowed people to archive their past. It has become a great human proof of past history that he can visually share with people close to him. Photography captures the visual reality and documents it – to capture what is real (visible). But what is that reality? What is her relationship to reality? How much truth lies in the image? The photographer must be responsible for presenting the situation in a fair and honest way, he can’t do manipulation of the technical image, but also can’t manipulate the emotional impact.

My portraits are not about how the object looks, rather it’s about how I feel he looks. I transfer onto the object my beliefs and vision but not my emotion. In art photography, some photographs are more suggestive and remain in the human memory, while others simply pass away, as in journalistic photography, some photographs simply represent an event and some convey emotion, mood, light. Photography has a dual function: it depicts the human exterior and describes his identity. To photograph my grandparents, I kept the vision for two years and only last summer I went to my country (Lithuania) and was able to do this.

Towards the end of the 20th century, Lithuanian photography experienced very important changes: some of the photography created at that time did not continue with previous Lithuanian photography traditions and generally did not match the usual criteria of photographic artistry. My favourite Lithuanian photographers are Antanas Sutkus and Vitas Luckus. Every time I  look at their photography I feel very emotional. I do not only see the photos I feel them. In photos with my grandparents, I was looking for natural emotion and to capture the photos with natural light. I wanted to show their relationship and loyalty, their love and their daily routine. I just had a feeling that I needed to do this for myself. To remember them like this. To remember their eyes, hair, wrinkles, hands, and voices. The photo where they are holding the hands of each other has been selected by Lensculture editors to be featured in the Portrait Awards 2020 Competition Gallery. Some of the photos were featured on Vogue Italia. I kept asking myself why it was so easy and natural to photograph my grandparents and landscape where I lived. And I think I found the answer – it is because of memories! I am connected to this place and these people. Most beautiful memories with grandparents, long conversations before going to sleep. I wanted not only to have digital memories of them I wanted to hear their voices so I recorded my grandmother singing. It is very important to me because we always sang together when I was a child. I still have a feeling that I haven’t finished the project and I plan to go back to Lithuania this year and take more photos. My grandmother will be 88 years old this summer and my grandfather will be 91; it is a solid age for them.

‘’In summary, we can say: The photographic image is a message without a code, it’s continuous. At the same time it is a connotative message, but not at the level of the message itself, but at the level of its production and reception. The photographic image is a sophisticated object selected, structured, built and produced according to professional standards – aesthetic, cultural or ideological.’’(Roland Barthes)

Images by Laurentina Miksiene