Natasha Caruana

19.09.15 - Presenting Love Bomb in Lithuania

I've just returned from my first visit to Lithuania. I was invited to speak about my work by Jonas Staselis at the 38th Tarptautinis Fotomenininku seminar. This annual meeting of photographers takes place in the very special town of Nida.

Nida, is located on the Curonian Spit between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea, it is the western most point of Lithuania and the Baltic states, close to the border with the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast exclave. It currently has about 1,650 residents and is best known for its artist colony. Since the 19th century artists have visited the area because of the combination of landscape, light and relaxed atmosphere. Even after my short stay I can definitely understand why creatives have always naturally gravitated to the area.

During my visit I gave a talk about my work and presented Love Bomb in the gallery next to the main conference room. The work ended up being installed without a tape measure, ruler or spirit level and when the work arrived it had been mounted onto foam board!? I had a split second of panic but quickly decided it was good opportunity to present Love Bomb in a more low-fi, ad-hoc way than I’d done before. On reflection the experience reminded me to be less precious about my work and remain at all times open to change and collaboration.

You could say the conceptually driven Love Bomb was pretty diverse compared to the work being discussed across the seminars. Most the audience had big Canon Mark II with telephoto lens around their necks! I felt they found the presentation of my rough snapshot imagery with text intriguing. After the talk we all moved to an after party of traditional Lithuanian fish. I chose the smoked Seabass which was eaten cold with my bare hands! Across dinner there was a plethora of questions and observations. It was a lively debate and as one of the only two female speakers across the whole week – I felt like I needed to be extra vocal to highlight and give a voice to the women in the industry.

The next day before heading back to London myself and the two other artists visiting from the UK, Discipula Editions’s Marco and Andrew Bruce, stopped by Kaunas Photo the longest-running annual photo art festival in the Baltic States to check out a few shows with the festival director.