The Lithuanian SSR Society of Art Photography. An Image Production Network

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Vytautas Miche lkevičius

The Lithuanian of Art Photogr SSR Society An image pro aphy (1969–1989) duction netwo rk

Vytautas Michelkevičius

The Lithuanian SSR Society of Art Photography (1969–1989) An image production network Translated by Jurij Dobriakov

Vilnius Academy of Arts Press 2011

UDK 77.04(474.5) Mi29 The study “The History of Lithuanian Photography: Sociopolitical, Aesthetic and Communicational Aspects” is financed by the Research Council of Lithuania (agreement No. MIP-04/2010) This book was published with support from the Culture Support Foundation of Lithuania Considered and recommended for publication at the October 26, 2011 meeting of the Board of the Faculty of Postgraduate Studies of Vilnius Academy of Arts, protocol No. FT1-1 Reviewers: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nerijus Milerius (Vilnius University) Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rūta Šermukšnytė (Vilnius University) Translation from Lithuanian: Jurij Dobriakov Proofreading: Malcolm Stewart Design: Tomas Mrazauskas

© Vytautas Michelkevičius, 2011 © Vilnius Academy of Arts Press / Vilniaus dailės akademijos leidykla, 2011 ISBN 978-609-447-033-2

To all my mediums

Table of Contents

The list of schemes and maps  10 Foreword  11 Abbreviations  18 Introduction  19

1 Photography as a medium dispositif: the concept

and methodology  33

1.1 The concept of a medium  35 1.2 The concept of the medium of photography  39 1.3 The dispositif: from social to media configurations  47 1.3.1  Michel Foucault’s concept of the dispositif and its development  50 1.3.2  The concept of the medium dispositif  54 1.3.3  The model of the medium dispositif  56 1.4 Instrumentalisation of dispositif analysis: methods  61 1.4.1  Actor-network theory as a research approach  63 1.4.2  The selection and combination of methods  70 1.5 Methodology of the photography dispositif and research material  78 1.5.1  Structure of the photography dispositif and the material of analysis  80 1.5.2  Application of the interview method  83 1.5.3  Photography (art photography) as an actor-network  88

2 The establishment and the activity of the Society: from the

context (situation) to the network  94


2.1 The technological and organisational context of photography in 1960-1970s  97 2.2 Art photography as a specific mode of usage of the medium  117 2.3 Photography as a new medium in art  139 2.4 The institutionalisation of photography  151 2.5 The apparatus of photographic production and distribution  159 2.6 The FMD as a laboratory for education and production of art photography  185

3 The interaction of style and intentions: between collectivism

and individuality  205

3.1 The notion of the Lithuanian school of photography  207 3.2 Socialist Realism as the foundation of the LFM style  217 3.3 The art photographer as an actor visualising an intention  239 3.4 The interaction between the photographer’s intention and style: semi-nonconformism  253

4 The structure of the art photography discourse


4.1 Methodological and theoretical publications  279 4.2 Parameters for the evaluation of art photography  293 4.3 The thematic structure of the art photography discourse strand  309 4.4 Analysis of a fragment of the discourse: stylistic poles  329

5 Photography dispositif as an actor-network


5.1 The structure and the interplay of power  358 5.2 The characteristic features of the photography dispositif as an actor-network  364 5.3 The functions of the FMD and the photography actor‑network  367


5.4 The power and the legacy of the dispositif after 1989  372 5.5 The particularities and the results of the application of the dispositif method  376 Conclusions  385 Bibliography and sources  393 Index of key concepts  413 Index of personal names  414


The list of schemes and maps

1 A synthetic concept of the medium of photography based on the theories of Flusser and Hickethier  44 2 The model of the medium dispositif  60 3 Instrumentalisation of the medium dispositif model  79 4 The material employed in the analysis of the photography dispositif  85 5 The development of the FMD network and its spatiotemporal dynamic  155 6 The change in the number of employees of the FMD’s departments  161 7 The dispositif of photography as a socio-technological actor‑network  199 8 Genres and rates of artistic photographs  301 9 Thematic groups of photographs  313 10 Discourse strand: the distribution of themes in the issues of Lietuvos fotografija almanac  321 11 A continuous fragment of the distribution of themes  323 12 The distribution of photographers within almanacs “Lietuvos fotografija” (1967–1984) and Yearly Books of Art Photography (1997–2006) (inner side of the cover) 13 Typical fragments of the stylistic poles  335 14 Stylistic map of the discourse strand (inner side of the cover) 15 The structure of the Lithuanian photography dispositif  359

Foreword The topic and subject area of this monograph have been taking shape for a long time. In 2003 I joined the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers and began taking an active part in its activities. I increasingly became concerned with the functioning principles and aims of this and other creative unions in Lithuania, and began questioning the need for such institutions today and in Soviet times. These practice-based everyday reflections gradually acquired an analytical nature and received a theoretical and, later, methodological basis. I began to inquire into how the medium of photography and the organisation that oversaw it functioned, and the more facts concerning the Soviet era I unearthed, the more eager I was to delve deeper and grasp the logic that lay behind the medium’s functioning. As the activity of each cultural organisation is inevitably ideological and political in nature, I sought to maintain the researcher’s neutrality, remaining conscious all the while of the potential risks. The findings of my research initially took the form of maps in the exhibition photo/carto/historio/graphies (2007) and in the book Mapping Lithuanian Photography: Histories and Archives (2007, Vilnius: Mene), which I co-edited with Agnė Narušytė and Lina Michelkevičė. The creation of maps and the process of mapping enabled me to see both the details and the whole, as well as the hitherto explored and the still undiscovered territories of the history of Lithuanian photography. In addition, they revealed the links in the network that connected not only people, but also styles, ideas, and images. Writing a history of a particular object is a difficult and simultaneously dangerous task. This is especially the case when there is no clear point of departure – in this case, a written history of



classical Lithuanian photography. For this reason, I had to write a history and criticize the writing of it at the same time. No matter how one writes it, this history will become a history of just one local photography network. It will, however, still exert significance in the context of global photography history. The inspiration to question the one-dimensional history of photography and the exclusive and singular way of writing it came from the book Photography: Crisis of History (Actar: 2002), edited by the Spanish photographer and critic Joan Fontcuberta. There is no history of photography; instead, there are multiple histories of photography, each which tells its story in a different way. The monograph partially utilizes the material gathered in the process of writing a doctoral dissertation. Most of the ideas and findings presented here came as a result of writing texts, curating exhibitions, and engaging in practical and analytical activities, such as gathering archive materials, talking to art photographers, and looking through photography albums. What is the LSSR Society of Art Photography?

The LSSR Society of Art Photography was established in 1969 in the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic (LSSR), and remained the only professional art photography organisation throughout the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) until as late as 1989. In 1989 it was reorganised into the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers, which continues to be active today. This monograph analyses the emergence and the development of the photography institution, the recognition of photography as a new artistic medium, and the interaction of the photographers’ individual intentions with the collective style of Socialist Realism. It reveals the specific nature of how an artists’ organisation functioned within a



Soviet state; an organisation where one could only publicly exhibit works if one were a member of a respective creative union (Artists’ Union, Filmmakers’ Union, Writers’ Union, etc.). The monograph also analyses the functioning mechanism of a medium institution of an immense size (with over 600 members and over 100 employees), which expanded its network throughout Lithuania and all of the medium dissemination spheres: production, distribution, education, and reception. This inquiry into the medium of photography and its associated institution reveals the peculiar nature of everyday Soviet reality, as well as the way in which images were produced and distributed. This analysis also focuses on how the photography dispositif, together with the institution, constructed art photography as a specific usage of photography within a uniform style, known as the Lithuanian school of photography. At the same time, the monograph draws parallels with today’s Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers, which now has only over a dozen employees and passively operates under completely different conditions of the photography field, although it still retains the legacy and power of the Soviet-era discourse in its disposition. Simultaneously, the research questions the purpose of and the need for creative unions in the Soviet period and in independent Lithuania. Ways of reading the monograph

Researchers and those interested in research: methodology and re­ search sections. Begin with the introduction, which will help you to piece everything together, as it reveals the problem, methodology, and originality of the research, as well as the structure of the monograph. If you are only interested in photography, skip through to the 2nd section; if the media theory perspective is also of interest to you, begin immediately with the 1st section. In the first



section I outline the methodological guidelines and the model of the photography dispositif, which I complement with concrete facts and connections made with the individual elements that can be found at the end of the research sections. In the research sections, where I analyse art photography and the entire system that constructed it, I essentially seek to expose the network of photography, its nodes, and its functioning principles. Art photographers and those interested in photography. Skip the first methodological section and plunge into the multifaceted narrative concerning photography, the Society of Art Photography, and its activities. Do not expect a “how it really was” type of account, because each history is subjective and depends on the research methods chosen. This study is one of the many possible stories about how everything evolved, what the relationships between the art photographers, the authorities, and the audience were like, and which photographs were the most popular and valued. I examined photography, art photography, and the Society together with the entire context, rather than separately. The context encompasses that period’s social, economical, political, and cultural conditions, various rules and resolutions, and the understanding of what art is, as well as what good art is (including photography). I sought to write a history of the Society of Art Photography from a collective, holistic perspective, rather than from an individualistic one (i.e. focusing on who did what and who was the most significant at a given moment); therefore, I employed a constructivist methodology. The latter holds that it was a determinant (in this case, the dispositif), rather than an autonomous individual, that “knew and envisaged” how everything was supposed to be, and made the mechanism of photography work. Perhaps it is not so easy to see things in such an abstract way, yet if one looks from



a more global perspective, at a distance from individual personalities, the network that connects the active nodes – people and objects alike – gradually becomes visible. For instance, the Society emerged not as a result of a meeting of like-minded enthusiasts, but because the technological, political and cultural conditions created a favourable context for the realisation of the photographers’ need to have their own organisation precisely at that time. To put it another way: it was an actor with certain functions who created art photography and chaired the Society, rather a concrete person. Therefore, in my research of the Society’s activity, I was looking for the fundamental functioning principles, and did not seek to describe the individual contributions in great detail. Exhibitions in the book

Visual mapping expands the research and complements the text. While skimming through the book, you have probably noticed that, for the most part of it, you can read only the right half, and have to examine the left one visually. Thus, you can study one half and experience the other. We need to thank the guru of media theory Marshall McLuhan’s Culture is Our Business, published in 1970, for such an amply illustrated publication as this. In Culture is Our Business he put forward the idea that books should feature text only on one side of each spread, whilst the other half should be dedicated to images, as he argued that people did not have the time to read every word. Therefore, his book featured visual advertisements on the right pages and text on the left. In this book everything is vice versa – the text is more important and requires more time to comprehend, thus I decided to present it on the right. While turning the pages of the book, you are looking through an album on one side and reading a study



on the other. Therefore, you can simultaneously feel the spirit of the period under analysis whilst reading its visual history and scientific interpretation. The illustrations in the book comprise three different exhibitions. Photographs from the everyday life of the Society complement the second part of the monograph, which analyses the institution. These images seem to construct their own micro-story from official moments of everyday activities and the gaps between them. Most of the illustrations are synchronised with the parallel text fragments. The second exhibition presents posters from the period, introducing today’s reader to the aesthetic of photography distribution of that time. The authors of most of the posters were well-known painters and graphic artists. While looking through them, you will see how photography was used in posters, and what graphic elements were employed to present a particular theme. Furthermore, these posters reveal the themes and occasions of the photography exhibitions of the time. The third exhibition consists of photographs that were originally published in the Lietuvos Fotografija almanac, which was one of the principal publications that represented Lithuanian photography in the Soviet era, while its editors were active members and employees of the Society. Here, photographs are presented as examples on the map of the discourse’s stylistic poles and reprinted as reproductions of the almanac’s pages. The map (see the front cover) reveals the four stylistic poles of the art photography discourse, while the photographs inside the book demonstrate its dominant themes and poles – from documentality and aestheticism to romanticism and psychologism. None of these exhibitions represents a comprehensive or final research; rather, it is a subjectively assembled visual landscape of the studied period and the monograph’s research object, which



have the ability potentially to provoke new reactions or interpretations when presented alongside the main text. These three exhibitions map the object in three distinct layers: archive documents, graphic poster art, and examples of art photography. Finally, one may view these exhibitions as a pilot study (because the image archives are selected and arranged according to a certain logic) and the beginning of a new study – it took a considerable amount of time spent in archives or in conversations with art photographers to put them together. Acknowledgements

As regards the more distant past, I am thankful to the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung foundation (Hamburg, Germany) for the Herder Scholarship they awarded me and the opportunity I was afforded to study at the University of Vienna (Austria) in 2004–2005, where the shelves of the university’s bookstores and the media theorist Frank Hartmann’s lectures on media philosophy provided impetus for my methodological search. I would also like to thank the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) for the opportunity they provided via an internship at the Academy of Media Arts Colognes in 2008–2009, and Prof. Dr. Detlev Nothnagel, who kindly welcomed me to his seminars for young scholars and helped me to find a path for my methodological journey. In addition, I am grateful to him for the open Western European academic atmosphere, seminars with other colleagues, and the office with a view of a plane tree, where I contemplated upon my methodological toolkit during spring. Surely, I am thankful to my research object – the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers and all of its members and administration employees, who kindly provided me with material, photographs, and posters. I also thank all the art photographers



who devoted their time to interviews and consultations, particularly Algimantas Kunčius. I thank Professor Arūnas Augustinaitis for his constant guidance and patience, and my fellow researchers at the Communication Department of Vilnius University – Renata Matkevičienė, Laima Nevinskaitė and others – for scientific discussion. I am grateful to the following scholars for the valuable comments they provided from the perspective of other fields: Professor Marius Povilas Šaulauskas, Agnė Narušytė, Kęstutis Kirtiklis, Yekaterina Lavrinec, Rūta Šermukšnytė, Skaidra Trilupaitytė, Alvydas Lukys, Eglė Rindzevičiūtė, Kristina Juraitė, Žygintas Pečiulis and Vilius Ivanauskas. I would like to thank my Lithuanian language editors Lina Michelkevičė, Rima Malickaitė and Indrė Makauskaitė for the coherence of the text, Jurij Dobriakov for its translation into English, and Malcolm Stewart for editing the English text and providing valuable advice on clarifying it.

Abbreviations ANT – Actor-network theory FMD – Society of Art Photography of the Lithuanian SSR LFM – Lithuanian school of photography LFS – Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers LDS – Lithuanian Artists’ Union


Introduction Photography is often referred to as one of the most widely used forms of visual communication media, yet studies that treat photography as a medium and emphasize its communicational and mediatic aspects are still few, especially in Lithuania. The study of visual communication, of which photography is considered to be both the conceptual basis and the basic unit, must focus not only on the social aspects, but also on the cultural and the technological aspects. The presentation of such a comprehensive perspective provides us with a complex view of the medium of photography and makes it possible for us to link the changes within the medium to the changes within its context. This analysis of photography in a concrete social and historical context – Lithuania of the 1960s–1980s – illustrates the increase in the importance of the medium of photography and the institutional legitimation of the latter. This particular period is important because it encompasses the principal points of change within the medium analysed: a) the formation of the institution associated with photography (the LSSR Society of Art Photography); b) photography becoming an independent medium; c) the expansion of the power of art photography (including its key turning point).

The medium of photography played a prominent role in the emergence of industrial society and its subsequent transformation into a post-industrial society: one can view it as a factor in the “industrialisation” of society, daily communication, and culture which provided conditions for the realistic representation



of reality and the practically unlimited reproduction of identical images. In addition, photography sustained the process of visual communication and mass distribution of ideas in time and space, much like printing machines had sustained textual communication several centuries earlier. The restoration of Lithuania’s independence provoked a fundamental turning point in the system of the medium of photography. The principal reasons for this change were political and social, and, later, technological. Of course, the discourse, which had taken several decades to develop, did not disappear over night, and its traces are evident to this day. It is precisely the power that this discourse enjoyed, as well as the manifestations of this power that make the historical dimension of this medium particularly relevant and prompts researchers to turn to the origins of photography as an independent medium in Soviet Lithuania. Therefore, the analysis of the medium of photography during this particular period is of especial significance because it may shed light on the origin and nature of the photographic discourse that exists today. The discussion of factors that shaped Soviet photography has hitherto remained underdeveloped in the theoretical discourse of Lithuanian photography studies: often authors simply retell the myths of that period or quote statements ( Jurėnaitė 1997) that were formulated during the latter, or analyse particular photographs out of context; therefore, there is a need for extensive research that could contribute to the development of Lithuanian art criticism discourse as well as Lithuanian communication studies. Such research would also be of practical use, as its findings would be accessible to exhibition curators, photography historians, and collectors or collection acquisition specialists. Furthermore, such an in-depth analysis of the institutionalisation of photography in Lithuania is still lacking.



Research problem

Analysis of photography often focuses on its content – photographs, their groups and themes (Rose 2007), while the medium itself and its properties receive scant attention. Studies concentrate on what the photographs depict, or how a certain combination of visual elements creates meaning, yet the social, technological, and political factors that lay behind the work and its creation remain beyond the scope of analysis. This problem is further exacerbated by the lack of unanimous agreement on what exactly should constitute a medium from the perspective of communication studies (Michelkevičius 2006, 2007). The present monograph takes the view that a medium is comprised of many different elements and is influenced by various factors, and it is therefore necessary to identify a method which is able to connect these elements into a single entity and analyse them as such. The result of the interaction of the medium’s elements is a particular usage of the medium and a certain associated style, which are essentially impossible to reveal by analysing the content of photography only. For this reason, the need for a complex methodology of medium analysis is evident. There is also a clear trend of content analysis and interpretation in the studies of Lithuanian photography during the 1960s–1980s (Narušytė 2008, 2010; Pabedinskas 2009). Lithuanian photography is described as a set of certain dominant themes and genres, without any enquiry being made into what led to their emergence and why they are the way they are. Researchers also maintain the existence of a uniform style or even a school of photography in Lithuania (Aninskis 2009; Jurėnaitė 1997), even though their studies do not disclose how such a style or school developed, and what factors had influenced this process. Therefore, an analysis of photographic images must take into consideration the social,



cultural, technological, and communication context of the particular period, and must thus scrutinize the power structures that produced this particular conception of photography as an independent medium. The codification of a complex view of the medium of photography will allow us to answer questions related to its usage and uniform style, as well as uncover the reasons that lay behind the emergence of the associated institutions and the concrete interconnected apparatus of photography with the power of production that sustained it, and understand how these apparatus functioned. Literature review

Only four doctoral dissertations on photography have been written in Lithuania up to now: Virgilijus Juodakis’ historical study Lithuanian Photography before 1940, Agnė Narušytė’s art history study The Aesthetics of Boredom in Lithuanian Photography (containing analysis of 1980s’ photography and definition of a new phenomenon – the aesthetics of boredom), Tomas Pabedinskas’ art history study Contemporary Lithuanian Photography. Relationship between the Image and the Identity of a Person (2009), and Margarita Matulytė’s historical study The Sovietisation of the Expression and Dissemination of Photography in Lithuania (2011). The first two dissertations were published as monographs (Juodakis 1996, Narušytė 2008, 2010 (in English)). Juodakis’ monograph focuses on an earlier period and is historiographical in nature, while Narušytė’s study analyses the aesthetic and semiological aspects of images, and is thus related to the subject of the present monograph most in a chronological sense (as it focuses on photography of the 1980s). This study is further complicated by the fact that there is still no written history of Lithuanian photography, and, as a result, the latter lacks a consistent and clear historical discourse. Photography



has thus far only been studied seriously in a fragmentary fashion (the works of Agnė Narušytė (2008b) and Margarita Matulytė (2003, 2005)), and has mainly been addressed in popular and publicistic texts (Stanislovas Žvirgždas, Skirmantas Valiulis, Eglė Jaškūnienė); therefore, it is necessary to employ contextual literature, search for correlations in adjacent art history discourses (for instance, that of painting), and analyse factual and archival material in order to meet the objectives of the study. Although the activity of the principal photography-related institution of the analysed period – the LSSR Society of Art Photography (referred to as the FMD further in the text) – has not yet been consistently researched (except for the first two years of its activity (Matulytė 2005)), the art historian Skaidra Trilupaitytė (2002, 2006) has studied the LSSR Artists’ Union, which functioned along similar lines and oversaw the sphere of the fine arts. Eglė Rindzevičiūtė has addressed the institutional aspects of culture in her texts on culture administration in Soviet Lithuania, written from the perspective of communication and culture studies, and in her dissertation Constructing Soviet Cultural Policy: Cybernetics and Governance after World War II (2008). In addition, Žygintas Pečiulis has authored a historical-problematic study of a related visual medium – television – during practically the same period (Pečiulis, Videoteatras. Lietuviškųjų vaidybinių TV programų raidos bruožai (1957–1982), 1994). Traces of the photography dispositif ’s power and issues relating to art photography’s relationship with contemporary art have been dealt with in texts dedicated to postphotography, a term which refers to the new usage of photography, one which was different from the one common to the Soviet era (Narušytė 2006; Michelkevičius 2008). The interaction between communication and media studies and art criticism and history in Lithuania is under-researched as well; therefore, there is a need for a conceptualisation of the



medium in the context of art and photography (Šukaitytė 2006, 2008; Michelkevičius 2007). The notion and methodology of the medium dispositif has so far not been researched in Lithuania at all, except for the provision of a short definition and acknowledgement of the need to apply it to the concept of a medium. Walter Benjamin was the first to define photography as a medium (1936), yet its structure was only discussed in more detail in the 1980s (Flusser 1983; English edition 2000). Nevertheless, a consistent complex definition of the medium of photography, which would facilitate its analysis from the perspective of communication studies, has yet to be formulated. As regards the process of solving concrete methodological problems, research has revealed that this topic has been significantly under-researched, and researchers have thus been forced to rely on the relatively new discussion of the medium dispositif (Hickethier 2003, Kessler 2007, Agamben 2009, etc), a concept which is usually demonstrated through examples taken from television and cinema – for this reason this methodology has had to be adapted to fit the medium of photography. The media theorist Martina Dobbe (2007) applies the concept of the dispositif in her analysis of photography; however, she approaches the dispositif as primarily a category of the aesthetic process, rather than as a concept that reveals the complex mechanism of the medium. Gillian Rose mentions the suitability of the concept of the dispositif and the method of discourse analysis for the analysis of photography in the methodological publication Visual Methodologie (Rose 2007), although she does not provide a universal complex of methods and suggests that such a complex should be devised depending on the problems that are particular to each case under analysis. The attempts that have so far been made to operationalize the concept of the dispositif and apply it into research sąvoką ( Jäger 2009) are overly narrow and



are too insufficient to deal with the problems presented in this monograph. There are also no studies that attempt to combine actor-network theory (Latour 2005, Law 1992), the dispositif approach and media studies; therefore, the present research is based on the very few theoretical discussions (Couldry 2004, Bennet 2007) that point out the potential benefit of doing so. The empirical problem analysed here has not yet been addressed in Lithuania, although a number of monographs on the development of the medium and discourse of photography have emerged in the West (for instance, Steve Edwards’ The Making of English Photography: Allegories (2006), which focuses on the construction of English photography – from industrial to commercial to artistic). Photography’s relationship with power, discourse, and institution is the subject of John Tagg’s recent study The Disciplinary Frame: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning (2009), which builds upon the ideas concerning the institutional construction of photography that were put forward in his earlier study Burden Of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories (Tagg 1993), although this text does not provide a methodology for researching these problems. The object of the research

The object of the monograph is the medium of photography; however, the latter rarely exists in a pure (independent) form because it is often a part of other communication systems (press photography is part of the system of newspapers and magazines; applied fashion photography is a part of the system of advertising, etc.). In addition, a medium does not function by itself, but rather through its dispositif, the analysis of which can reveal the mechanism of the medium’s functioning. The object of research in this monograph is photography as a medium dispositif in Lithuania,



or, in other words, photography and the organisation that regulated it – the LSSR Society of Art Photography. The medium dispositif is a theoretical approach to the medium of photography that allows us to analyse it together with the whole system of knowledge that it is a product of. The medium dispositif is understood here as the network of interactions that exist between its constitutive elements. It is related to a concrete time and space, and consists of the medium’s contents (discourse), technology, institution (the LSSR Society of Art Photography), as well as the rules that regulate the medium and philosophical statements. Analysis of the medium dispositif will allow us to disclose the matrix of knowledge and communication of a particular epoch – in this case, the elements that comprised photography and the way in which the interaction of power and knowledge influenced it. Conceptual and chronological boundaries

The chronological origin of the monograph’s research object can be traced back to the 1960s, as the LSSR Society of Art Photography (the first and the only one in the Soviet Union for 20 years), which began to systematically supervise the development and control of photography discourse, was founded in 1969; while the end of the analysed period coincides with the 1980s, when in 1989, as the cultural and political situation began to change, the Society was reformed under the title Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers. For this reason, the Society’s functions and the scale of its activity in the photography dispositif changed dramatically after the restoration of Lithuanian independence. As regards conceptual limits, it must be emphasised that this study focuses on art photography as an independently functioning



and developed, as well as institutionally regulated sphere of photography. The other photography spheres and their influence on the (art) photography dispositif will be discussed within the general context of the study, rather than as part of the main research object. This work does not seek to reconstruct a consistent and detailed chronology of events; therefore, the analysis of the object of research does not necessarily present a consistent factual and chronological account. The study focuses predominantly on the problematic aspect of the analysed phenomenon in order to reveal how the institution and the medium of photography functioned, and what factors conditioned the development of a specific usage and uniform style of photography. The aim of the monograph is to reveal how the LSSR FMD functioned as a network for the production and distribution of images, and how it constructed a consistent discourse and style. In order to reach its stated aim, the study has to meet the following objectives: 1) By formulating the notions of the medium and the dispositif, it should construct and operationalize a methodology for the analysis of photography as a medium dispositif; 2) Analyse the way in which the art of photography became institutionalised, and the way in which the newly developed network of the medium functioned; 3) Reveal how the uniform collective art photography style functioned, and how it interacted with individual intentions; 4) Examine the structure and properties of the art photography discourse; 5) Connect the functioning of all elements of the photography dispositif into an integral actor-network and reveal the functions of the latter.



[. . .]


Photography as a medium dispositif: the concept and methodology


Photography can be the research object of different humanities and social sciences disciplines – sociology, philosophy, anthropology, art history, etc., yet its multi-faceted nature and the variety of contexts in which it is used suggest that photography is best analysed from an interdisciplinary perspective: visual studies, culture studies, and media or communication studies. As all of these fields of study often employ a similar methodology (Poster 2002) and the borders between them increasingly fade, the present section does not engage in the drawing of demarcation lines, but rather seeks to productively use the distinctive approaches of these disciplines to develop a research methodology for the analysis of the main object of the study (photography). Photography itself is a very ambivalent research object, thus it is necessary, first of all, to establish a point of view – i.e. to formulate the concept of a medium; only then will it be possible to apply the latter to the medium of photography and identify its characteristics and constituent elements. This will form the theoretical basis for the concept of the medium of photography. 1.1 The concept of a medium

Although the notion of a medium came into use in communication and media studies in the 1960s (McLuchan 1964), a clear definition of the term has not been formulated until now. The metaphors used to define a medium complicate the very concept of a medium and, simultaneously, media studies: the way one asks and reflects on the question of the location of a medium changes the relationship between the concepts and the metaphors of media (Tholen


Photography as a medium dispositif

2002). Thus the concept of a medium needs to be defined each time according to the specifics and aims of a concrete study. According to the dictionary definitions1, the term medium is used in very different meanings: from a very material and technological definition (a material used for the storage of some content or information (paper, CD, etc.)) to a very abstract one, when a medium is understood as the totality of a communication system (including the technology, the storage medium, the sender/ receiver couple, and the institution). However, there is a need for a definition of a medium in a narrow sense in the academic discourse. The concept of a medium developed by the German media theorist Knut Hickethier (2003) and other media and communication theorists is a composite one; therefore, it is necessary to identify its constituent elements and construct an integral concept. First of all, the term medium is not synonymous with that of tech­ nology, because a medium is a particular use of a technology to communicate or express (Lister 2003: 83-84; Williams 2003). For instance, the technology of photography remains only a technology when it is used in the industrial copying of chipsets, yet when the same technology is used to create images with the purpose of presenting them to the public, it becomes a medium. “Having an intention for a technology is not synonymous with the technology per se. A technology becomes a medium through many complex social transformations and transitions; it is, in Williams’s reading, profoundly the product of culture and not a given consequence of technology.” (Lister 2003: 83) The intention to communicate


1 Medium. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http:// [accessed on October 9, 2008]. This dictionary lists more than 11 meanings of the word medium, depending on the sphere in which the term is used (from bacteriology to communication studies).

Photography as a medium dispositif

is the key factor in the transformation of a technology into a medium, as the latter can exist and be defined only through its social and cultural usage. Thus a medium (here: photography) is directly related not only to the intention to communicate itself, but also to the individual realizing it (the photographer) and the society, which acts as the context of photography production, distribution, and reception. Knut Hickethier’s (2003: 20–22) grouping of the media according to their functions – observation media, recording and processing media, and transmission media – can be instrumental in the development in the concept of a medium. The observation (perception, in a more general sense) media extend and amplify the possibilities of the human senses: vision (spectacles or telescope), hearing (microphone or hearing-aid), etc. Here Hickethier bases his categorisation on McLuhan’s concept of media as extensions of the human body. The recording and processing media “record” information for storage or processing. They free up the internal human memory and create an “external” memory. These include celluloid film, camera memory card, etc. – in short, information (or content, e.g. image) storage media. The third type of media is the transmission (distribution) media, which transmit information, messages, and content over time and space. The simplest example would be computer or radio networks. Generally, media tend to accumulate diverse functions. Thus, according to Hickethier, the fourth group of media – communication media – accumulates the functions of all three other groups, and not only alters the structure of space and time, but also creates new spaces for communication. It is precisely this all-inclusive concept of a medium that is the most relevant one for communication and media studies. Yet this concept could be applied to very different media, from writing to cinema; thus, for the purpose of this study it is necessary


Photography as a medium dispositif

to specify the concept of a medium and narrow it down to the concept of apparatus-based (technical) media. This reduction is also based on the concept of a medium as a technology with a communicational intention. The media theorist Friedrich Kittler defines the fundamental difference between apparatus-based media and other media in the following way: “Unlike writing, technical media do not utilise the code of a workaday language. They make use of physical processes which are faster than human perception and are only at all susceptible of formulation in the code of modern mathematics.” (Kittler 1996) Whether mechanically or digitally, technology automates the communication process, and thus intensifies and accelerates it. This is what constitutes the difference between apparatus-based media, which can also be called automatic media, and manual media (for instance, writing). The complex functioning of automatic media requires a highly developed system that grants them power; therefore, the analysis of media of this type is inseparable from the analysis of the institutions that support them. Summing up the discussion of the narrowed-down concept of a medium, it must be said that a medium is a “communication medium” which functions in conjunction with the system that performs the functions of this medium. Therefore, the integral definition of a medium refers to a combination of a technology, content, and an institution that regulates the practice of the medium. The final formula of the concept of a medium is this: a medium = a technology with an intention (communicational, artistic, etc.) + a storage medium with content. Applied to the medium of photography, this formula determines that the medium of photography = photographic technology with an intention + a photograph, where a photograph = a storage medium + content. In the case of photography, the storage medium can be a sheet of paper, a screen, or any other surface that makes it possible to see the content of a photograph – an image.


Photography as a medium dispositif

In addition, one has to keep in mind that this formula holds true only when photography is associated with an institution. Thus, having examined and defined the concept of a medium and adhering to the inclusive approach, we must specify the medium of photography as a research object, shifting the focus from the general definition of a medium to the specific characteristics of photography. 1.2 The concept of the medium of photography

One of the first theorists to define photography as a medium was the philosopher and culture theorist Walter Benjamin, who is often regarded as the pioneer of media studies, as he analysed photography’s specific mediality as a phenomenon. Although he did not use the term medium as such, Benjamin analysed photography as a medium, and noted in his 1936 essay Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (1936; The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1969) that, although photography had been invented almost a hundred years earlier, it had not yet become a study object of any science (Benjamin 1936). Although he saw photography as a potential object of philosophy, one can consider his studies as the first attempt at developing the theory of media. Comparing photography with other means of visual expression, Benjamin identified its unique features and functions, especially the ability to technically and precisely reproduce the same image an unlimited number of times, and the cultural change this ability caused. The philosopher and media theorist Vilém Flusser laid the ground for the studies of photography as a technical image medium. In his work Für eine Philosophie der Fotografie (1983; Towards a Philosophy of Photography, 2000), he analyses the mechanisms of the production, perception, and distribution of the medium of


Photography as a medium dispositif

photography in the information society. Photography is important as a factor that propels the processes of the dematerialisation of images, having shifted the locus of power from the material to the symbolic. Photography was the first medium that accelerated the production and distribution of visual knowledge, and led to the entrenchment of the technical image, which, together with the apparatus and its program, automated cultural production. The automatic nature of the medium changes the whole concept of visuality, as well as its production and distribution. In his work The Engine of Visualization: Thinking through Photography (1997), Patrick Maynard defines photography as a technology that has two main powers: those of visualisation and imagining. Comparing the technology of photography with the steam engine, the phonograph, and other technologies of the industrialisation era, he concludes that the technologies of imagining (including cinema, television, sound recording) have become one of the most economically and politically important technologies of the modern age (Maynard 1997: 83). The conditions of a concrete historical period (as well as a certain demand) form specific configurations of these imagining technologies that effectively enhance the activity field of a medium. In the industrialisation age, the distinctive features of photography had a strong impact on the universal categories of imagination, and thus the very “human imagining is now powerfully shaped by such photo-depictive characteristics� (Maynard 1997: 114). Therefore, photography is important as an instrument of power that can orient the human imagination in a particular direction and give it tangible form, expressed through easily standardised and typologysed photographic characteristics. In order to analyse the industry of visualisation created by photography, we must first discuss the key functions of the medium of photography and the institutions that enable them: a description of the system that supports


Photography as a medium dispositif

the photographic phenomenon will make possible the construction of a complex concept of the medium of photography. Visualisation is directly related to the mechanism of production of photography, as well as its scale and characteristic features. Benjamin identified the characteristics of photography that fundamentally changed the system of art and communication: the possibility of the mechanical mass reproduction of images added a visual dimension to mass communication (through photography and, later, cinema and television). Flusser further developed Benjamin’s ideas in his Towards a Philosophy of Photography, analysing photography and its medial system in the information society. Interacting with the problems addressed by information and communication studies, Flusser’s theory of photography facilitates the application of media theory to the specifics of photography. For his interpretation of photography as an apparatus-based medium, Flusser employs the notion of “technical image”, which he defines as a “technological or mechanical image produced by an apparatus” (Flusser 2000: 85). One of Flusser’s major contributions is that he shows how the systems of production, distribution, and perception of technical images work; furthermore, he analyses these systems’ social, cultural, and technological effect on the thinking process and communication in general. Flusser’s theory serves here as a theory of a specific medium, which links communication, technology, and aesthetics into a whole that allows us to define photography as a medium. Flusser’s analysis of production, distribution, and perception of the medium of photography partially corresponds with the medium functions identified by Hickethier. Therefore, by comparing and synthesising these two theorists’ ideas, we will arrive at the concept of this particular medium and its characteristics. According to Hickethier, production embodies two medium functions: observation and recording. Meanwhile, Flusser singles


Photography as a medium dispositif

out three concepts that are important to the production of technical images: the operator, the apparatus, and the apparatus program (Flusser 2000). The photographer-operator has a certain intention while photographing, yet the question whether this intention can “defeat” the program “installed” in the apparatus always remains open. Therefore, the production of a photograph is more of a technical process, a struggle between human intention and the camera program. Here one can notice a parallel with the already mentioned concept of a medium proposed by Lister and Williams, in which a technology becomes a medium only if there is an intention to use this technology for communication purposes. The mode of production of the technical image also influences the mode of its perception, as the analysis of such an image must always take into account the two intentions: human (that of the photographer) and technological (that of the camera program). Flusser distinguished four intentions of the photographer (2000: 45): 1) to code one’s concept of the world, turning those concepts into images; 2) to use the camera for this purpose; 3) to show the images thus produced to others, for the images to become models of the experiences, knowledge, values and actions of other people; 4) to preserve those models for as long as possible.

Thus, the photographer seeks to establish his or her own model of visualisation in the process of production of knowledge. Flusser concludes that from the photographers’ point of view, his or her concepts constitute the raison d’être of photographing, while the camera program realizes its own raison d’être. In turn, the camera’s program is the following (Flusser 2000: 46):


Photography as a medium dispositif

1) to code the virtualities contained within it into images; 2) to use a photographer for this purpose — unless the camera is fully automated, such as with satellite cameras; 3) to distribute the images thus produced in such a way that society may behave in the service of feedback for the apparatus itself, thus permitting it to improve its functions progressively; 4) to produce even better photographs.

There are points of both convergence and divergence between the photographer’s intention and the camera program, thus each photograph is the result of both the collaboration and the conflict between the photographer and the camera. Flusser considers the photographs in which the operator’s intentions prevail to be the best ones. It is the task of the analysis of photography to reveal the photographer’s and the camera’s intentions. When the analysis fails to do this, photographs remain mere representations of the state of things in reality (Flusser 2000: 48), lack the “charge” of meaning, and are thus closer to technology – i.e. are short of the qualities of a medium. The notion of intention links Maynard’s and Flusser’s concepts. Photography as a technology of visualisation depends not only on the photographer, but also on the social context, which creates the conditions for production and distribution, as well as the social demand – the audience’s wish to see certain images. The photographer, then, becomes the controller of collective imagination, acting between his or her own intentions, the camera program, and the social demand. Having distinguished the specific characteristics of photography, we can now narrow down the concept of a medium and formulate the concept of the medium of photography [3]. This is a



1  A synthetic concept of the medium of photography based on the theories of Flusser and Hickethier


medium apparatus program

photograph (technical image)

production [operator]

reception [viewer]

program apparatus medium

medium distribution

conceptual model that will be useful for the further development of the methodology and empirical analysis. The model highlights all the main structural elements of photography, as well as their hierarchical and functional relationships. In the diagram, the external circle indicates the medium, which acts as an intermediary between the operator (photographer) and the viewer. The medium consists of the storage – the photograph (with some content), which is a technical image, and the technology – the apparatus, signified by a rhombus, the sides of which represent the interaction of the photographer’s intention and the camera program. The apparatus also contains a program, which incorporates the technological and aesthetical characteristics of photography and automatically reproduces reality using a certain set of codes. The photographer intentionally employs the camera program and the distribution mechanism, which provides an appropriate


Photography as a medium dispositif

channel for the construction of a photograph and the subsequent presentation of the latter to a particular audience. This definition of a medium that accumulates diverse functions brings us closer to a more complex and contextual approach to media. A medium never exists in isolation; rather, its shape depends on the particular society, time, and place – in other words, a medium is a part of a larger communicational and/or organisational system, while its functioning (legitimation and regulation) requires an institution. According to the photography theorist John Tagg, it is only possible to tackle photography as a research object by associating it with a certain institution: Photography as such has no identity. Its status as technology varies with the power relations that invest it. Its nature as a practice depends on the institutions and agents which define it and set it to work… Its history has no unity. It is a flickering across a field of institutional spaces. It is this field we must study, not photography as such. (Tagg 1988: 63)

Thus, photography is diffuse, and it is only association with a particular institution and context that gives it coherence. Therefore, photographs in themselves are not complete messages that testify the truth; only certain institutions make them such. It is also important that the analysis of the medium of photography emphasises the institution and technologies, leaving aside the details of particular images; this will help us focus on the production and usage of photographs. Institutions sustain a specific regime of production and distribution of the medium. “Photographs are no more, and no less, than fragments of ideology, activated by the mechanisms of fantasy and desire within a fragmentary history of images”, while the “institutions of photography are inseparable from the institutions



[. . .]


The establishment and the activity of the Society: from the context (situation) to the network


Photography was important in Soviet Lithuania as an art form and a medium that reflected the idea of universal modernisation in both its content and through the communication mechanism it employed. The unlimited mechanical reproduction of images, and the documentary nature, realism and automation of depiction were the key properties of the medium that deemed it perfect for the “industrialisation” of the visual discourse. The Soviet state functioned according to the logic of modernisation, as it “intensively carried out the project of industrialisation, which inevitably prompted the processes of development, bureaucratisation, and propagation of urbanisation, occupational specialisation, universal schooling, and higher standards of formal education.” (Keturakis, Leonavičius 2002: 43). The evolution of photography, and the formation of the field of the professional usage of the medium, as well as its institutionalisation, also fell into line with the demands and nature of most modernisation processes. Alongside cinema, photography was important to the state apparatus as a catalyst for the development of a particular media culture, as it was relatively easy to control and manipulate. As an art form, photography was readily comprehensible to a wide audience, because one could read its conventions without possessing the kind of context understanding skills and specific knowledge that were required by painting or sculpture. Another important aspect was photography’s accessibility to every citizen, as the ideologues of Soviet culture emphasised the “Party spirit and popular appeal” of art and culture (Matulytė 2005) – the establishment of amateur photography clubs was encouraged as a way to promote “ideologically acceptable” leisure activities.


The establishment and the activity of the Society

The Society of Art Photography of the Lithuanian SSR (LSSR FMD) was the only institution in Soviet Lithuania that specialised in the production and distribution of photography, as well as photographic education. Its activity encompassed the creative work of professional and amateur photographers both comprehensively (overseeing all of the medium’s functions). and expansively (throughout the whole of the Republic). Therefore, an analysis of photography as an autonomous medium and the context of its expressive conventions requires, first of all, an analysis of the institution that sustains and regulates its. This analysis will focus on art photography, as it was precisely the latter that the LSSR FMD developed, institutionalised, and systematically sustained as a separate sphere. 2.1 The technological and organisational context of photography in 1960-1970s

When writing on the medium’s historical and artistic aspects, one should pay attention to the context that such writing is created in and the relativity of one’s perspective. The Polish art critic Piotr Piotrowski (2009: 5-6) contradicts the longstanding Western belief that art produced in the West was heterogeneous and pluralistic, while in the East it was homogeneous and based on a uniform ideological foundation, as there was no uniform ideology in the Soviet bloc states, and the system governing the control and administration of artistic production differed from state to state. Hence, even though control did exist, such ideological state apparatuses inherently differed from state to state; the result being that history of Eastern European art is equally heterogeneous. In this way, it would appear that is was, vice versa, precisely the West that was homogeneous. Thus, according to Piotrowski, it is necessary to rewrite the history of

< The opening of Alfonsas Budvytis and Algirdas Šeškus exhibition in the annual seminar of art photographers’ in Nida, summer guest house “Zunda”, unknown author, 1981


The establishment and the activity of the Society

Eastern European art with such local values and situations, as well as ideological state apparatuses, in mind. In Lithuania, the development of the art of photography as a new discourse was also influenced in particular by the local context; with its specific technological and organisational situation. Naturally, it was also influenced by the factors at work throughout the Soviet Union as well. It is difficult to identify an integral photography dispositif before the 1960s, since systematic and organised photographic activity was virtually nonexistent before then. It was generally only press (journalistic) photography which played a prominent role in public life, and this form was subject to a strict (thematic and ideological) selection criteria5 and, naturally, censorship6. Photography clubs were at that time established through trade unions within factories and various organisations and associations, however, they consisted of amateur photographers and photography enthusiasts; moreover, their activities were usually internal, thus their photographs rarely reached the public sphere – except for exhibitions held in the organisations’ premises. Amateur photography clubs (alongside dance collectives, choirs, etc) provided factory workers and institution employees with one of a number of approved leisure activities. In general, there were few professionally conscious working photographers at the time, and even those that did exist had no opportunity to realise

5 See Margarita Matulytė (2005), “Totalitarinė fotografija: kova už sielas” – a text about official Lithuanian press photography during Stalin’s rule. The article analyses the criteria and construction methods applied to photographs that portrayed the Socialist regime positively. 6 See Arūnas Streikus, “Sovietinė literatūros ir meno cenzūra Lietuvoje 1944– 1955 m.”, in Kultūros aktualijos, 6(59), 2007. Arūnas Streikus, “Sovietinė literatūros ir meno cenzūra Lietuvoje 1956–1972 m.”, in Kultūros aktualijos, 1(60), 2008.

< Art photographers and critics – members of the jury: Algimantas Kunčius, Judelis Kancenbergas, Skirmantas Valiulis, Liudvikas Ruikas, Sigitas Krivickas and Remigijus Pačėsa, photo by Anatoly Streletsky, 1971


The establishment and the activity of the Society

themselves as artists7. Thus it was almost impossible to speak of a dispositif of photography, let alone art photography, before the late 1960s. One of the principal reasons behind that was the absence of the institutionalised practice of photography as an independent medium. A unified culture and art administration system which interacted both with the local context and the ideology dictated by the centre (Moscow) was in place in each of the Soviet Union republics, forming a specific mechanism for the production, distribution and control of art which functioned primarily through creative unions. The local bureaucracy functioned in a similar fashion – although it received orders and instructions from Moscow, the nomenclature followed its own unwritten rules which became routine over time (Ivanauskas 2008). Yet there was no clear and consistent policy for photography for the whole of Soviet Union, since there was no organisation that was responsible for the coordination of photographic activity, and thus the latter was scattered across newspapers’ and magazines’ editorial offices and amateur photography clubs. In general, individual engagement in the public distribution of creative content was virtually impossible in Lithuania, thus all creative workers were organized into appropriate artist unions and fellowships. Each photograph that was to be made public had to be reviewed by various control institutions like the Art Council of the FMD (Interview with Žvirgždas 2008-2) and, later, other content and ideological control institutions. Their quantity depended on the way in which a particular photograph was to be

7 For an overview of the context, see: Margarita Matulytė, “Sovietinės fotografijos funkcijos ir specifika 1940–1953 m.”, in Genocidas ir rezistencija, 2003, Nr. 2 (14), p. 69–102, and Margarita Matulytė “Lietuvių fotografijos meno raiška kultūros sovietizavimo kontekste (1958–1970 m.)”, in Genocidas ir rezistencija, Nr. 1(17), 2005, p. 7–33.

< Group portrait taken at the Lithuanian photographers’ exhibition at the USSR Nations’ Friendship Palace in Leningrad. This was the first exhibition of Lithuanian photographers of such a scale to be held – around 700 works were exhibited, photo by Stanislovas Žvirgždas, 1972


The establishment and the activity of the Society

publicized – whether it was going to be included in a publication or an exhibition (local, republican, union-wide or international one). For instance, in addition to having the possibility to exhibit works and send them abroad, an artist belonging to the Artists Union “was granted the right to refrain from public work, have a studio and buy paint, brushes and canvas upon showing a member’s ID at the “Dailė” (“Fine Arts”) store” (Lubytė 1997: 10). The members of the LSAP, which was established later, enjoyed analogous rights; the organisation gave them a possibility to not only exhibit their work, but also to earn a living by providing them with orders for applied photographic services and photographic materials. Jonas Ramo ka, who served as head of the FMD’s Production Department for 15 years, described the advantages of being a member of the Society: The situation with photography equipment was difficult – yet photographers who were members could obtain everything, including laboratories and studios. Photographers simply had to write an application in order to receive 2-3 rolls of photographic paper. One could develop as many prints as one wanted to. <…> Almost all photographers used the Society’s equipment. <…> People were well-equipped. One can only dream of this kind of support now. (Interview with Ramoška 2009)

The technological conditions

The poor development of photographic technology in the Soviet Union determined that photographic images were circulated in everyday life as objects (images tied to a concrete medium – photographic paper) rather than as information (images that acquired importance primarily because of their content; functioning as

< A photographer changes film at the art photographers’ seminar in Nida, photo by V. Zotov, 1981


The establishment and the activity of the Society

intangible objects of value). In comparison, in the Western media culture of the 1960s, photographs were in constant circulation in daily life and were reproduced by the mass media (television, press, advertising, etc.). The small number of photographs produced within the Soviet Union and the non-intensive distribution of these images essentially went hand in hand with the state of the industrial Soviet society: photographs were seen as equal to other physical objects, and not as a continuous and partly uncontrollable stream of information. In Lithuania, each photograph that appeared in public had a symbolic weight and value, as, despite the unlimited replicative capacity and logic of the medium itself, its release depended on both the content control institutions and economic reality – the constant shortage of photographic materials and printing possibilities limited the production and distribution of images. Therefore, the technological conditions in the Soviet Union assumed the role of restrictive circumstances which acted in manner contrary to the logic of the medium instead of facilitating the dissemination of images. The mode of the production, distribution and usage of the medium in Lithuania was obviously different from that which was prevalent in the West in the 1960s-1980s, where the advent of a new stage in their development – post-industrialism (Bell, The Coming of Post-industrial Society, 1973), and the accompanying dawn of the information society, or postmodernism (Lyotard, La Condition postmoderne: Rapport sur le savoir, 1979) – was already being proclaimed. In contrast to Western countries, there was no chain of photography laboratories in Soviet Lithuania (there were only two photography and cinema laboratories in Vilnius). In the main this meant that if a person wished to make a photograph they had to develop their films and make their prints at home (usually setting up a makeshift photo lab in the bathroom), which required special equipment and knowledge. The only option available to

< Photographers among mannequins at the Vilnius Exhibition Palace: Julius Vaicekauskas, R. Vizgirda, Romualdas Rakauskas, Antanas Sutkus and Aleksandras Macijauskas, photo by Algimantas Kunčius, 1968



[. . .]


The interaction of style and intentions: between collectivism and individuality


Functioning as a vehicle for communicational conventions, style is an important element of the photographic medium, as, through the use of the latter’s characteristics; style forms a recognisable code that allows photographers to convey their messages to the audience. To function in society, the medium of photography requires a certain set of themes and technological qualities; and it is through the use such qualities that photographers are able to form their group identity. The formation of style is also the result of the dispositif ’s activity, thus the former is inseparable from the interaction of the dispositif ’s other elements. Acting as the skin of the discourse, style also facilitates the visualisation and conveyance of the actor-network’s ideas when a new theme or a group of themes is incorporated into the discourse. Therefore, this section will look at how certain qualities of the medium, in interaction with the dispositif, helped shape a uniform style that conformed to the principles of Socialist Realism, the “superstyle” – in other words, the canon – of the time. It is equally important to reveal the nature of the relationship between collectivism and individuality. An analysis of the art photographers’ intentions and their interaction with Socialist Realism will allow us to define the specific nature of Lithuanian art photography. 3.1 The notion of the Lithuanian school of photography

Establishing itself as an independent medium in the 1960s, photography began to search for its own specific language and modes of expression. Exhibitions, and the discussions and publications


The interaction of style and intentions

surrounding them that arose in the press and elsewhere facilitated the formation of communicational conventions and a localised conception of a new usage of photography in Lithuania. This section attempts to partly describe and reconstruct this conception using the main statements of that period’s discourse. The conception of Art photography as a separate sphere of the usage of the photographic medium had already become accepted in Lithuania by 1960 (the process of its establishment culminated in the foundation of the FMD), and this idea continued to dominate until the declaration of Lithuanian independence. The Moscow-based critics defined the local variant of the medium’s usage as the “Lithuanian school of photography” (further referred to as LFM): it had already become the object of discussions by 1969, when the initiative group of what was to become the LSSR Society of Art Photography presented the exhibition 9 Lithuanian Photographers14 to the whole of the Soviet Union. The term was coined by Anri Vartanov and Konstantin Vishniavecki and first used in the magazine Советское фото (Anninski 2009: 6). These critics noted and drew attention to the affinity that existed between the works of the authors who had participated in the exhibition and would later form the core of the FMD – Antanas Sutkus, Algimantas Kunčius, Vitas Luckus, Marius Baranauskas, Liudvikas Ruikas, Romualdas Rakauskas, Antanas Miežanskas, Vitaly Butyrin and Aleksandras Macijauskas (Vartanov 1997: 10-11). The following notions were employed to describe this affinity: ethnographic content, reportage aesthetic, psychologism, serialism (making pictures in series), and “metaphorical artistic form”15.

14 “Встреча с литовскими мастерами в Москве”, in Советское фото, 1969, Nr. 9, p. 44. Cited in Narušytė A., Nuobodulio estetika Lietuvos fotografijoje, 2008, p. 22. 15 Sergei Morozov. Творческая фотография. Moscow: Планета, 1985, p. 289– 290. Cited in Narušytė 2008, p. 22.

< Annual exhibition of the Society’s members’ works. Designer unknown, 1977


The interaction of style and intentions

The contours and principles of the Lithuanian school of photography were delineated by the Russian art critic Lev Anninski in his monograph Saulė šakose: apybraižos apie lietuvių fotografiją (Sun in the Branches: Essays on Lithuanian Photography, originally published in Russian in 1984, translated into Lithuanian in 2009). Anninski became the principal legitimator of the LFM’s style and discourse, calling it a “national school” and grounding its logic upon the uniformity of the photographers’ intentions, since they were united by “connections and interaction, the same view of the world, an idiosyncratic structure of creative work, and a shared set of moral concerns” (Anninski 2009: 11). Moreover, Anninski pointed out that it was the series as opposed to the single photograph that was the basic aesthetic unit of the LFM (Anninski 2009: 11-12), which meant that it should be viewed as a narrative-based form – in other words, Lithuanian photogrpahy was concerned with telling a certain story. In addition to the authors and their creative intentions, the context in which they acted was also important to the formation of a school and its style: “This is not just R. Rakauskas’ or A. Sutkus’ style; rather, this is the common style of their time which they have adopted, a shared point of departure.” (Anninski 2009: 13) This means that the dispositif of art photography not only united, but also shaped its actors through a uniform style that embodied the philosophical attitudes, regulations, and institutional rules of the time. In accordance with Anninski, another Russian art critic and communication theorist Anri Vartanov confirmed that the common features of the school were: a) a shared theme (“narrating the story of one’s nation, its life and work, and the land in which it lives” (Vartanov 1997: 11); b) the fusion of the principles of documentary and art photography (“They [the representatives of the school] employed

< Along the Paths of Wild Animals. Exhibition of art photography works by Julius Vaicekauskas. Designer uknown, 1970


The interaction of style and intentions

the methods of photojournalism (concealed and ordinary camera, un-staged situations, direct contact with the protagonist), although their objectives were more typical of art photography (the creation of a finished image that is characterised by a unity of content, form, and style)” (Vartanov 1997: 12).

The stylistic affinities that were noted by these outside actors can be similarly understood within the network, i.e. by the photographers themselves; where such affinities are successfully disseminated by both the internal and the external actors of the network. The Photographer Algimantas Kunčius argued that the “school” referred to what united them, their shared worldview and values (Interview with Kunčius 2009). Furthermore, Kunčius stated that the task of the art of photography was not just to take photographs independently, but also to produce prints of high quality using the inherent features of the medium of photography itself: contrast, tonality, brightness, grain, etc.): There was a school [of Lithuanian photography that united us], so you had to do everything right, but you couldn’t, since the quality of the film was poor, and that was when you would become inventive. <…> I simply wanted to achieve what was necessary for a school to exist, what was peculiar to photography, what it conveyed (Interview with Kunčius 2009).

Thus, prowess in the creation of photographic images and the skilful use of the qualities of the medium itself were one of the most important threads that bound the LFM together. The second link was a common range of themes (the main thematic discourse strands); themes which the photography and film critic Skirmantas Valiulis delineated in the following way in his

< Exhibition of student art photography works from Soviet Union. Designer R. Bičiūnas, 1972


The interaction of style and intentions

introduction to the third issue of the Lietuvos fotografija almanac (1971): “the love of one’s native land and its hard-working people, modernity of thought, and firm humanistic stance”. This description contains the period’s standard discursive formula, one which was constantly reproduced. The third shared trait is serialism – the viewer became familiar with the Lithuanian art photographer’s work through the photographers continued exploration of the same themes (Macijauskas’ Kaimo turgūs (Village Markets) (19691987), Straukas’ Paskutinis skambutis (The Last Bell) (1975-1987), Rakauskas’ Žydėjimas (Blooming) (1974-1984), and so on). Lev Anninski’s monograph, which essentially defined the LFM as a style and gave the discourse of Lithuanian art photography its power, may be considered the first fundamental text to analyse and systematise the LFM’s communicational conventions. This work contained less commitment to the Soviet system than the texts written by Lithuanian critics, and it was also influenced by the principles of the depiction of reality that were prevalent at the time. Anninski undertook the fundamental project of defining the conventions of Lithuanian art photography, determining the contours of its discourse, and legitimating it. The monograph is strictly divided into 7 sections that logically substantiate the idea of the school’s existence. The first section, titled The School, describes the stylistic standpoints and the foundation of the school. The second and the third sections, The Limits of the School and The Borders of the School, identify the adjoining spheres of photographic expression and those styles which bordered on art photography. The following sections focus on the rebels and, finally, the successors of the school’s tradition. This means that by defining the LFM as a uniform style, Anninski in fact identified the stages of the actor-network’s formation and continuity. What is more, Anninski himself, through the virtue of citation, became an actor within the network, conveying its main

< Exhibition of art photography works by Boris Ignatovich (Moscow). Dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the USSR. Designer J. Galkus, 1972


The interaction of style and intentions

ideas concerning the movement’s stylistic traits and consistency. Anninski became important as the network’s actor-communicator; as the figure who set out the criteria for the determination of the purity of the discourse and the style. These criteria, in turn, enabled others to view a stylistic unity within the movement – one which gave the LFM the broad contours of a stable actor-network, where oppositional actors (those practicing a different style of photography) strengthened rather than weakened the network and helped to define its limits. The formation of a uniform style of the LFM can be seen as the result of the stabilisation of this actor-network. The style was initially identified by outside actors (critics from Moscow), who gradually became, however, indispensable actors in the network, functioning as its mediators and disseminating the conventions for the creation and understanding of art photography. Thus, alongside its development and dissemination of ideas regarding the LFM, the formation of a certain style can be viewed as a result of the dispositif in Lithuanian photography. It can be concluded that the LFM became a concept which drew attention toward a specific local style of photography. Although a more comprehensive analysis of the latter requires that a more detailed look be taken at the general stylistic foundation of visual art that was dominant at the time – Socialist Realism. 3.2 Socialist Realism as the foundation of the LFM style

The identification and definition of style and its foundation are based upon texts that were written on the subject of photography and Socialist Realism after the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, when it had already become possible to evaluate Socialist Realism from a critical distance. This analysis is complemented by

< Exhibition of art photography of the Lithuanian SSR. Dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the USSR. Designer J. Galkus, 1972



[. . .]


The structure of the art photography discourse


Alongside the institution and the style, it is the medium’s contents and the rules that regulate them that are of especial importance as regards the study of the medium. In order to understand the FMD’s activity during the period discussed, attention must be directed toward the groups of themes that were prevalent at the time, as well as the causes that lay behind their dominance. Furthermore, one needs to identify the particular photographs that were the most influential and iconic within the discourse as a whole. Because the institution was an important mechanism of content control, it is also necessary to analyse the rules that set the criteria for the determination of a photograph’s value and artistic worth. In addition, the study must address the entire logonomic system and its agents – the philosophical and scientific statements that were disseminated and established via theoretical and methodological publications. The discourse is one of the essential elements of the medium’s dispositif, and it is directly tied to the institution through communicational conventions and institutional rules. The discourse also depends on philosophical, moral, and scientific statements, part of which has already been discussed in the preceding chapters. The present section of the book will continue this discussion with an analysis of the photographic publications. It will analyse the regulations for the assessment of photographs (which contained the detailed evaluation parameters that were to be used) as one of the key documents that had a direct influence on the content of the discourse. The analysis of the discourse’s structure and fragments will allow us to identify the dominant themes and their unifying elements, which will then allow us to validate the assumption that the dispositif ’s functioning was integral and coherent.


The structure of the art photography discourse

From the time of its inception, the FMD consistently oversaw the determination of the discourse’s contours and the definition of its conventions and concepts. In addition to regulating the discourse of art photography (and partly, photography in general) through the determination of its limits and the organisation of the various forms of its materialisation, the organisation thoroughly documented not only the discourse itself, but also the majority of the interactions of the dispositif’s various elements. The exhibitions and the publications were listed and described in chronicles which were published as separate booklets (each chronicle represented a particular period: 1969–1973, 1974–1979, 1980–1983, 1984, 1985, 1986). One can find documentation of the post-1986 exhibitions and publications in chronicles published after 1997 which continue to spread the ideas of the actor-network that emerged in the Soviet era. The chronicles published in the Soviet period were records that demonstrated the discourse’s intensity and expansion, as well as the actor-network’s dynamics, and functioned as agents that legitimated and disseminated the principles for the creation and perception of art photography. The published chronicles became important evidence of the network’s geographic and thematic outspread, and strengthened the feeling of community and motivation to be a part of a network. These records constitute valuable material which complements the dispositif’ as a whole and allow us to reveal the interaction that existed between all of its elements. Yet the most important published records are those that possess evaluative and decision-making power, and it is thus necessary to analyse them. 4.1 Methodological and theoretical publications

The photography critics (e.g. Sigitas Krivickas, Skirmantas Valiulis, Virgilijus Juodakis, and others), the party ideologists (e.g. Balys

< Aleksandras Macijauskas, The Wheel / Ratas, 1968–1969


The structure of the art photography discourse

Bučelis, Lionginas Skrebė, and others), and specialised publications were the FMD’s principal agents that supervised the philosophical, moral and scientific statements and the ideological and artistic level of the contents of the discourse that these statements defined. The ideological level of photography was regulated in accordance with the level of compliance that the themes and depictions shown in the photographs showed towards the requirements of Socialist Realism and the visualisation of meaningful and valuable subject matter. The artistic level, although sometimes identified with the ideological one, usually referred to the image’s compliance with certain requirements of visual quality, technical execution, and composition. Conferences, seminars, and mobile propaganda events – lectures for amateur and professional photographers, discussions of exhibitions, and so on – were regularly organised with the purpose of raising photography’s artistic and ideological level (Propaganda and methodological work plan 1972). Publications that were published on the occasion of major events – for instance, Fotografijos menas ir tikrovė (The Art of Photography and Reality, Krivickas 1979), Fotografija ir vaizdinė agitacija (Photography and Visual Propaganda, Valiulis 1980) – were distributed to photographers as theoretical and methodological literature. These publications contained advice and guidelines on creating photographic images, choosing the proper objects for depiction, identifying the most valuable subject matter, and so on. For this reason, these publications are important records that provide material proof of the dispositif ’s philosophical, moral, and scientific statements. Moreover, as they were employed as part of the professional education of both amateurs and professionals alike, they were an important element in the process of the propagation of the actor-network’s ideas. One of the discourse-defining publications, Fotografija ir vaizdinė agitacija, which, according to its subheading, was aimed

< Aleksandras Macijauskas, Pipe Player / Dūdorius, 1970


The structure of the art photography discourse

at the delegates of the Society’s 2nd assembly and was handed out to each of its full and candidate members, can be considered as a particularly pertinent example. It is a collection of articles compiled in accordance with the resolutions of the 5th FMD plenum (August 1, 1979), dedicated to the FMD’s tasks toward the realisation of the CPSU CC’s resolution on the further improvement of the quality of ideological and political educational work, and the resolutions of the 12th plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania. The opening text, which essentially defined the philosophical and moral framework of the art photography discourse, was written by the head of the FMD, Balys Bučelis. The latter formally served as the chairman of the FMD’s Governing Board, as Antanas Sutkus was not a member of the party and could not serve as the head official of the organisation. The title of the text was the same as that of the plenum itself, and it discussed the FMD’s tasks and their implementation, providing particular examples of the latter. This text can be viewed as an obligatory safety device, since it motivated and substantiated the FMD’s important role in ideological and political education, and identified the organisation’s objective: “Our task is to make photography raise the political and civic consciousness of the working people and shape their aesthetic taste through all of the means and forms accessible to it” (Fotografija ir vaizdinė agitacija 1980: 28). The statements of the organisation’s effective activity which are presented are based on qualitative and quantitative evidence (for instance, the number of visitors and awards received by the photographers). All of the texts included in the publication can be divided into several groups according to their function: 1) Ideological texts that emphasise the role of photography in the dissemination of ideas compliant with the resolutions

< Aleksandras Macijauskas, from the series Veterinary Clinic / iš serijos Veterinarijos klinikose, 7, 1977–1980


The structure of the art photography discourse

of the CPSU and the Communist Party of Lithuania; these outline the main philosophical and moral statements of the discourse; 2) Aesthetical (Socialist Realist) texts that emphasise art photography’s relationship with everyday reality, as well as human work and leisure; these reveal the connection between the discourse and a specific style; 3) Professional (practical) texts that aim to raise the level of professionalism in the field and improve the quality of photographic images; these define the particularities of the usage of the medium.

Therefore, the plenum dealt with many different problems related to the medium of photography: from its function as a disseminator of ideas to the possibilities available for professional artistic expression. The publication itself essentially reflected the main statements of the discourse and the rules regulating the latter. For instance, E. Bardauskas presented the Kaunas photographers’ experience in attempting to improve the quality of visual motivation and propaganda (Fotografija ir vaizdinė agitacija 1980: 4), and emphasised that art had an increasing influence on the formation of the Soviet citizens’ worldview and that it was an element of paramount importance in their spiritual life. However, the author also noted that the possibilities were far from being exhausted, and it was “necessary to strengthen the connection with the audience” by bringing the exhibitions directly to where people lived: the districts, villages, houses of culture and cinemas. Thus, the objective was to make the photography dispositif (or, more specifically, its distribution system) function as a network of maximum density and spread, one which could reach every viewer – this means that the party viewed photography as a particularly useful medium and did not doubt the effectiveness of its impact.

< Aleksandras Macijauskas, from the series Village Market / iš ciklo Kaimo turguje, 1974–1977


The structure of the art photography discourse

The theoretical-methodological publications functioned as agents that defined the boundaries of the discourse. In his article “The Soviet way of life and our photography”, the critic Skirmantas Valiulis discussed the aesthetic and moral aspects of Lithuanian photography. Valiulis criticised the emerging trend of “intellectual photography”, which drew “inspiration not so much from life and profound inner experiences as from the general intellectual outlook and awareness of the newest developments in art, including photography, of course” (1980: 57). Criticising such photographic experiments that did not comply with the tenets of Socialist Realism, he referred to them as “banal photography that mimics foreign spiritual horizons”. This statement reveals the essence of the dominant Socialist Realist principles and their hostility to differing styles and content. These remarks encouraged the network’s actors to refrain from neglecting the principles of the logonomic system and choose appropriate topics. Such methodological suggestions, presented in the form of critique, embodied the philosophical, moral, and scientific statements that defined the contours of the art photography discourse. The 1979 methodological/theoretical collection of texts Paro­ dos ir fotomėgėjai (Exhibitions and Amateur Photographers, ed. Virgilijus Juodakis) is another example of a discourse-regulating publication. It contained the statistics of photography exhibitions and achievements, reviews of exhibitions and albums, excerpts from discussions and the Russian art critics’ theoretical texts on photography. According to the publication’s editor, it was supposed to solve the problem of the shortage of methodologicaltheoretical literature about photography in Lithuanian, and “to become a helpful resource for the preparation of practical courses and provide information and theoretical background for creative discussions” ( Juodakis 1979: 3–4). It was no accident that this mainly educational publication contained no less than three

< Algimantas Kunčius, Labanoras village / Labanoras, II, 1969



[. . .]


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Lietuvos TSR fotografijos meno draugijos vidaus darbo taisyklės, Vilnius. Interviews with actors All interviews are published on the Internet as .mp3 sound files (the filenames coincide with the interviewees’ surnames), [online], [accessed on November 4, 2011], Interview with Aleksandras Macijauskas, Semptember 16, 2008, Author’s private archive. Interview with Algimantas Kunčius, July 15, 2009, Author’s private archive. Interview with Antanas Sutkus, August 1, 2009, Author’s private archive. Interview with Jonas Ramoška, August 1, 2009, Author’s private archive. Interview with Romualdas Rakauskas, August 2, 2009, Author’s private archive. Interview with Sigitas Krivickas, July 17, 2009, Author’s private archive. Interview with Skirmantas Valiulis, September 18, 2008, Author’s private archive. Interview with Stanislovas Žvirgždas: first, September 15, 2008, Author’s private archive. Interview with Stanislovas Žvirgždas: second, October 17, 2008, Author’s private archive. Articles, albums, and other publications Andriuškevičius Alfonsas, “A. Šeškaus ir R. Sližio kūryba drauge”, in: Kultūros barai, 1983, Nr. 10, p. 79. Černiauskas Algimantas, “Ma­ni­pu­lia­vi­mas fo­to­gra­fi­ja kaip pro­pa­gan­ dos prie­mo­ne Lie­tu­vos fo­to­gra­fi­jos al­ma­na­chuo­se 1967–1987 m.”, in: Genocidas ir rezistencija, 2006, vol. 19, Nr. 1, p. 142–158. Fotografija ir vaizdinė agitacija, edited by S. Valiulis, LTSR FMD, 1980. “Fotografijos menas: pokalbis prie apskritojo stalo”, in: Kultūros barai, 1969, Nr. 1 (49), p. 5-7. Gaižutis Algirdas, [Preface], in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Algirdas Gaižutis, Vilnius: Vaga, 1981.


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Juodakis Virgilijus, [Preface], in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Virgilijus Juodakis, Vilnius: Vaga, 1969. Jurėnaitė Raminta, “Bandymai sustabdyti “praeinantį laiką” Lietuvos fotografijoje / Attempts to Stop the “Passing of Time“ in Lithuanian Photography”, in: Lietuvos fotografija: Vakar ir šiandien ’97 / Lithuanian Photography: Yesterday and Today ’97, edited by Skirmantas Valiulis, Vilnius: Lietuvos fotomenininkų sąjunga, 1997, p. 7-9. Kisarauskas, V. (1968). Fotografijos ir menas. In: Margi fotografijos dešimtmečiai, edited by Skirmantas Valiulis and Stanislovas Žvirgždas, Vilnius: Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers Foundation, 2009, p. 45–48. Kisarauskas, V. (1969). Upė kultūros jūroje. In: Margi fotografijos dešimtmečiai, edited by Skirmantas Valiulis and Stanislovas Žvirgždas, Vilnius: Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers Foundation, 2009, p. 49–52. Kolevas Koljas, excerpts from the article “Susitikimai su Bulgarija”, in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Antanas Sutkus, Vilnius: Vaga, 1986, (reprinted from Nemunas, 1982, Nr. 11). Krivickas Sigitas, Fotografijos menas ir tikrovė, LTSR FMD, 1979. Krivickas Sigitas, [Preface], in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Antanas Sutkus, Vilnius: Vaga, 1986. Krivickas Sigitas, [Preface], in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Sigitas Krivickas, Vilnius: Vaga, 1967. Lewis Ben, “Antano Sutkaus kontrvaizdai”, in: Literatūra ir menas, [online], 2009-01-02, Nr. 3218, [accesses on March 3, 2009], http://www. Lietuvos fotomenininkų sąjunga: Reference book, edited by Stanislovas Žvirgždas, Vilnius: Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers, 2004. Mareckaitė Gražina, [Preface], in: Romualdo Rakausko parodos “Švelnumas” katalogas, LTSR FMD, 1971. Narušytė Agnė, “Tai, ko nebuvo: Fotografijos paroda “Su cenzūros žyme” galerijoje “Arka”, in: 7MD, [online], 2002-12-06, Nr. 546, [accessed on September 4, 2010],


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Noimanas Alfredas, excerpts from the article “Ciklas “Žydėjimas”, in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Antanas Sutkus, Vilnius: Vaga, 1986, (reprinted from Fotojahrbuch international, 1982). Ozolas Romualdas, “Lietuvos fotografija”, in: Kultūros barai, 1968, Nr. 4, p. 66. Pačėsa Romualdas, [Preface], in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Romualdas Pačėsa, Vilnius: Vaga, 1978. Parodos ir fotomėgėjai, edited by V. Juodakis, LTSR FMD, 1979. Petrauskaitė Žilvinė, “Raudonieji fotografų perkūnsargiai”, in: Kauno diena, [online], July 17, 2004, [accessed on July 10, 2010], http://kauno. Savickas Augustinas (1968), “Keturių meistrų žodis”, in: Margi fotografijos dešimtmečiai, edited by Skirmantas Valiulis and Stanislovas Žvirgždas, Vilnius: Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers Foundation, 2009, p. 42–44. Savickas Augustinas (1962), “Meninei nuotraukai – estetinę kultūrą”, in: Margi fotografijos dešimtmečiai, edited by Skirmantas Valiulis and Stanislovas Žvirgždas, Vilnius: Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers Foundation, 2009, p. 39–41. Skeivienė Laima, [Preface], in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Antanas Sutkus ir Milda Šeškuvienė, Vilnius: Vaga, 1987. Skrebė Lionginas, “Fotografijos vaidmuo vaizdinėje agitacijoje, estetiniame auklėjime, moraliniame dirbančiųjų skatinime”, in: Fotografija ir vaizdinė agitacija, edited by S. Valiulis, LTSR FMD, 1980, p. 66-68. Vaicekauskas Julius, [Preface], in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Julius Vaicekauskas, Vilnius: Vaga, 1974. Valiulis Skirmantas, [Preface], in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Skirmantas Valiulis, Vilnius: Vaga, 1971. Valiulis Skirmantas, Stanislovas Žvirgždas, Fotografijos slėpiniai, Vilnius: Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers, 2002. Valiulis Skirmantas, Stanislovas Žvirgždas, Fotografijos slėpiniai II, Vilnius: Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers, 2006. Vartanovas Anri, “Apie Lietuvos fotografiją”, in: Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Antanas Sutkus, Vilnius: Vaga, 1986, (reprinted from the catalogue of the exhibition Lithuanian Art Photography in Prague, 1982).


Bibliography and sources

Žvirgždas Stanislovas, Susipynusios vieno medžio šakos, Vilnius: Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers, 1999. 9 Фотографов Литвы, составитель Антанас Суткус, Каунас: Министерство культуры Литовской ССР, Литовский республиканский совет профсоюзов, Республиканский дом художественной самодеятельности, Каунасский гос. исторический музей, Каунасский дворец культуры профсоюзов, 1969. „Встреча с литовскими мастерами в Москве“, in: Советское фото, 1969, Nr. 9, p. 44. Illustrations The monograph features illustrations from the collections of the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers and the Photography Fund of the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers, as well as from the private archives of Algimantas Kunčius, Stanislovas Žvirgždas, and other photographers. The diagrams were charted by the author of the monograph. The photographs featured in pages 278-352 of the monograph were originally published in the following publications (according to the specified pages of the monograph): p. 276, 278 – Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Sigitas Krivickas, Vilnius: Vaga, 1967; p. 254, 262, 264, 266, 298, 304, 306, 310, 312, 314 – Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Virgilijus Juodakis, Vilnius: Vaga, 1969; p. 256 – Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Skirmantas Valiulis, Vilnius: Vaga, 1971; p. 272, 290, 316 – Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Julius Vaicekauskas, Vilnius: Vaga, 1974; p. 260, 292, 296 – Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Romualdas Pačėsa, Vilnius: Vaga, 1978; p. 258, 270, 280, 284, 286, 288, 294, 308, 318, 320 – Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Algirdas Gaižutis, Vilnius: Vaga, 1981; p. 268, 274, 300, 302 – Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Antanas Sutkus, Vilnius: Vaga, 1986; p. 282, 322 – Lietuvos fotografija, edited by Antanas Sutkus and Milda Šeškuvienė, Vilnius: Vaga, 1987. The author of the monograph sought to identify the authors of all illustrations. We apologize to the authors who remained unidentified or were unavailable for contact.


Index of key concepts

Illustration pages are provided in square brackets. actor ​15, 30, 62–64, 86–88 actor-network ​[199], 201 actor-network theory ​29–30, 63–67 apparatus ​41–43, [44], 50 apparatus-based medium (media) ​38 art photography (the art of photography) ​131–135 automated medium ​38 communicational conventions ​57 communicational intention ​37–38 discourse ​57–58, 72–73, 68, 83 discourse analysis ​50, 70–72, 90–91 discourse fragment ​329 discourse strand ​75–76, 311 dispositif ​24–25, 47–51 dispositif analysis ​61–62, 77–78 dispositif model ​48–49, 56–61, [60], [79] dispositif power ​60–61, 372 institution ​45–46 instrumentalisation ​61, 64, 67, 77, [79] intention ​42–43, 253 laboratory ​63–65, 155, 185, 197 logonomic system ​74–75 logonomic rules ​74–75 mapping (and visualisation) ​30, 68–69, 77 medium ​35–38 medium dispositif ​26, 54–56, [60] medium of photography ​43–47 network of power ​62 operator ​42, [44] photography dispositif ​74, 80–81, [85], [199], [359], 360–362

power ​51–53, 60–61 production ​40–42, 55 program ​42 semi-nonconformism ​253–255, 271, 381 social mandate (commission) ​ 261, 269 stylistic poles ​347 style ​57, 73–74 technical image ​41 technology ​36–38 translation ​65–66 translation strategies ​66, 364–365


Index of personal names

The personal names mentioned in the bibliography and the list of primary sources are not included in this index. Illustration pages are provided in square brackets. Agamben, Giorgio ​24, 51 Ajauskas, V. ​[254] Ališauskas, Antanas ​[313] Andriuškevičius, Alfonsas ​141, 255, 257, 259, 381 Aninskis, Levas ​135, 137, 139, 209, 211, 215, 217, 257, 289, 362 Balčytis, Vytautas ​251 Baranauskas, Marius ​133, 155, 209, 241, [294] Bardauskas, E. ​111, 285 Baudry, Jean-Louis ​49–51, 54 Bell, Daniel ​105 Benjamin, Walter ​24, 39, 41 Bennet, Tony ​25, 31, 63, 67, 69, 385 Bičiūnas, R. ​[212] Borevas, Vladimiras ​289 Brazauskas, Algirdas ​159 Bubelytė, Violeta [183] Budvytis, Alfonsas ​97, 137, 251 Bührmann, Andrea ​52, 53, 61 Callon, Michel ​63, 68 Capa, Cornelis ​175 Chaffee, Daniel ​48 Couldry, Nick ​25, 31, 69, 385 Crawford, Cassandra S. ​65 Creswell, John W. ​28 Čekanauskas, Vytautas ​127 Daukantas, Feliksas ​127 Deleuze, Gilles ​28, 53 Dichavičius, Rimantas ​127, [238], [240], 269, [318], 327, [326],


[328], [330], [332], 333, [300], 335, 343, 345 van Dijk, Teun Adrianus ​76 Dilys, Antanas ​111 Diominas, Viktoras ​289, 291 Diržinskaitė, Leokadija ​151 Dobbe, Martina ​24 Drazdauskaitė, Milda ​[350] Edwards, Steve ​25, 46 Flick, Uwe ​70 Flusser, Vilém ​10, 24, 28, 39, 41–44, 59, 245, 253, 269, 380 Fontcuberta, Joan ​12 Foucault, Michel ​28, 29, 50–55, 60– 62, 67, 68, 70, 72, 73, 157, 385 Gaižutis, Algirdas ​193, 345, 349, 351 Galkus, Juozas [214], [216], [242], [248], [252], [260], [262], [268] Garuba, Karl Maria ​145, 147, 149 Gečas, Vincentas ​131 Geda, Sigitas ​129 Giedraitienė, Irena ​[348] Gray, Carole ​69 Grigoravičienė, Erika ​223, 225, 227, 229, 313, 315, 317, 323, 383 Griškevičius, Petras ​113 Groys, Boris ​153, 155 Gronemeyer, Nicole ​50 Grubevičius, A. ​201, [230] Hans, Jan ​48, 49 Hartmann, Frank ​17 Hennion, Antoine ​63 Hickethier, Knut ​10, 24, 31, 36, 37, 41, 44, 48–50 Hodge, Robert ​74 Howarth, David ​72 Ivanauskas, Vilius ​18, 30, 101 Yaneva, Albena ​63

Yurchak, Alexei ​271, 363 Jäger, Siegfried ​24, 30, 53, 61, 75, 77 Jankauskas, Vidmantas ​143, [186] Jeffrey, Ian ​223, 225 Julian, Malins ​69 Juodakis, Virgilijus ​22, 115, 279, 287, 351 Juraitis, Valentinas ​173 Jurėnaitė, Raminta ​20, 21, 333, 375 Kalvelis, Jonas ​107, [316], [319], 331, 333 Karpavičius, Povilas ​111 Karpowicz, Jerzy ​[158], [176], [178] Keller, Reiner ​52, 53, 62 Kessler, Frank ​24, 47, 50, 67 Keturakis, Saulius ​95, 363 Kireilis, S. ​[226], [228] Kirtiklis, Kęstutis ​18, 28 Kisarauskas, Vincas ​135, 147, 149, [256] Kittler, Friedrich ​38, 55 Kress, Gunther ​74 Krivickas, Sigitas ​84, 86, 99, 117, 119, 121, 127, 145, 155, 161, 185, 219, 221, 223, 279, 281, 313, 317, 337, 339, 345, 347, 351 Krūminytė, A. ​[270] Kunčius, Algimantas ​18, 84, 86, 99, [104], 111, [112], 117, [118], [124], 125, [126], 127, [128], [130], [132], 133, [134], [144], [146], [148], 151, [154], 155, [160], [166], [174], 187, [188], 191, 193, [202], 209, 213, 225, 231, 243, 247, 249, 251, 259, 263, 265, 267, [286], 291, [296], [308], [310], [312], [314], 315, 317, 327, 331, 333, 335, 341, 345, [346], 375, 376 Kvale, Steinar ​71, 86, 87 Latour, Bruno ​25, 28, 29, 63, 64, 68, 153, 165 Law, John ​25, 28, 29, 62, 63, 65, 66, 81 Lekečinskaitė, Ž. ​[244], [258]

Lemert, Charles ​48 Leonavičius, Vylius ​95, 363 Levinas, Chanonas ​111, [317], 339 Lewis, Ben ​263, 265 Liandzbergas, Henrikas [319] Linnap, Peeter ​233, 235 Lister, Martin ​36, 42 Littlejohn, Stephen W. ​28 Lyotard, Jean-François ​105 Lubytė, Elona ​103, 141 Luckienė, Tania ​145 Luckus, Vitas ​145, 155, 167, 187, 209, 265 Lukys, Alvydas ​18, [272], 373 Macijauskas, Aleksandras ​84, 86, 105, 107, 111, 117, 127, 155, [162], 171, 191, 209, 215, 225, 245, 267, [278], [280], [282], [284], 327, 331, 335, 337, 339, 375, 376 Maier, Florentine ​61, 75 Maynard, Patrick ​40, 43 Maleckas, Raimundas ​[306] Malkovas, M. ​[264] Mareckaitė, Gražina ​259, 261 Matulytė, Margarita ​22–23, 95, 99, 101, 117, 157, 261, 263, 375, 381, 382 McLuhan, Marshall ​15, 37, 49 Michailov, Boris ​119 Michelkevičė, Lina ​11, 18 Michelkevičius, Vytautas ​21, 23, 24, 376 Mieželaitis, Eduardas ​157 Murdoch, Jonathan ​29 Narušytė, Agnė ​11, 18, 21–23, 153, 209, 225, 229, 347 Naujikas, Vilius ​117, 125, 151, 155, [289] Ozolas, Romualdas ​123, 127 Pabedinskas, Tomas ​21, 22 Pačėsa, Romualdas ​99, 155 Paech, Joachim ​49, 50 Pečiulis, Žygintas ​23 Petrauskaitė, Žilvinė ​171 Piotrowski, Piotr ​97 Pleikienė, Ieva ​247


Index of personal names Poster, Mark ​35 Požerskis, Romualdas ​[106], 187, 245 [293], [303], 327 Prior, Lindsay ​72 Putinaitė, Nerija ​269 Rakauskas, Romualdas ​84, 86, 105, 119, 125, 133, 141, 151, 155, 189, 209, 211, 215, 225, 229, 241, 243, 245, 251, 261, 267, [304], [315], [317], [318], [320], [322], [324], 327, 331, 333, [334], 335, 343, [344], 351, 376 Ramoška, Jonas ​84, 86, 103, 111, 187 Reid, Susan Emily ​115, 139 Rindzevičiūtė, Eglė ​18, 23 Röhle, Theo ​52 Rose, Gillian ​21, 24, 73, 76 Rosenblum, Barbara ​73, 74, 243, 245, 273, 382 Ruikas, Liudvikas ​99, 129, 155, 209 Sartre, Jean-Paul ​337, 341 Savickas, Augustinas ​127, 135, 141, 143, 145, 149 Schapiro, Meyer ​73 Sim, Stuart ​48 Skeivienė, Laima ​331, 333, 347, 351 Skrebė, Lionginas ​177, 281 Slėžys, B. ​[250] Sniečkus, Antanas ​153 Stigneev Valery ​113, 115, 117, 135, 163, 201 Stiles, David ​69 Straukas, Vaclovas ​111, 139, 215, 247, 251, 257, [298], [300], [342] Streikus, Arūnas ​99 Streletsky, Anatoly ​[98]

Sutkus, Antanas ​84, 86, 105, 113, 117, 119, 121, 125, 127, 129, 139, 151, 155, 157, 161, 165, 171, 175, 183, 189, 203, 209, 211, 243, 251, 263, 265, 267, 283, [290], 291, 293, [317], 327, 331, 333, 335, [336], 339, [340], 341, 343, 351, 375, 376 Šepetys, Lionginas ​129, 139, 145 Šeškus, Algirdas ​97, 137, 141 Šimukėnaitė, N. ​[224] Šukaitytė, Renata ​24 Tagg, John ​25, 45, 381 Tholen, Georg Christoph ​35 Trilupaitytė, Skaidra ​18, 23 Trimakas, Gintautas ​[353] Uznevičius, Vladas ​[164], [198] Vaicekauskas, Julius ​105, 133, 155, 189, 191, 211, 333, 337, 341, 347 Valiulis, Skirmantas ​23, 84, 99, 155, 195, 213, 279, 281, 287, 333, 341, 347, 351 Vartanov, Anri ​191, 195, 209, 211, 213, 289, 337 Watney, Simon ​46, 381 Williams, Glyn ​77 Williams, Raymond ​28, 36, 42 Winthrop-Young, Geoffrey ​55 Wodak, Ruth ​76 Zabulis, Henrikas ​151 Zimanas, Genrikas ​151 Žižiūnas, Algimantas ​[192], [194] Žvirgždas, Stanislovas ​23, 84, 86, [100], 101, 107, [108], 109, [122], [136], [138], [140], [150], [152], [156], 183, 185, 227

Typefaces: Arno Pro by Robert Slimbach (Adobe, 2007); FF Kievit Pro by Michael Abbink and Paul van der Laan (FontFont, 2001) Printrun 400 Published by Vilnius Academy of Arts Press, Dominikonų g. 15, LT-01131 Vilnius Printed and bound by Balto Print, Utenos g. 41A, LT-08217 Vilnius

This book is about the power of photography and the network it formed in everyday life and art of Lithuania in 1969–1989. The monograph reveals how a specific usage of the medium – art photography – emerged in Lithuania in the 1960s–1980s. It examines the way in which photography became established as a new artistic medium; identifies the dominant types of subject matter that existed at that time and provides reasons for their popularity, and examines the nature of the interaction between art photographers’ individual intentions and collective Socialist Realism principles. The monograph also looks at the factors that enabled the photography institution (the LSSR Society of Art Photography) to become a highly efficient laboratory for the production and distribution of images; an institution which was well-known throughout the Soviet Union, as well as the West. The Society of Art Photography is understood here as the laboratory in which both art photography works and the criteria for their evaluation were developed. The application of Actor-Network Theory in the analysis reveals how the cohesive interaction of the organisation, technology, art photographers, ideas, themes and rules produced the uniform style of art photography that came to be referred to as the Lithuanian school of photography. The study’s holistic approach provides an insight into why soviet art photography remains in demand today, and how a photographer could become popular back then whilst balancing on the line between individual intentions and collective needs. This book is not just an account of the way in which one could become an artist and a renowned photographer during Soviet times, or what was at play in the sphere of everyday media culture at that time, but also an engaging exhibition of both previously unpublished archive shots and famous art photography works, as well as posters that were produced to advertise the photography exhibitions of that era. The monograph will be of interest to art critics and researchers, media and communication theorists, philosophers, sociologists, Sovietologists, historians, photographers, artists, as well as all those interested in photography and the development of art and media in Lithuania. ISBN 978-609-447-033-2