The strong aesthetic photographic language of the series leads one towards understanding of the proposed formulas of happiness in Lithuania through archetypes, symbols and metaphors. The consciously constructed image, centered composition solutions and direct confrontation with the subject paradoxically create the impression of an encounter with an irrefutable fact. The fact that what we see in Mindaugas Azusilis’s project is the Bible of Lithuanian happiness. Yet this collection of images rather than texts is more of a rejection of what we understand as a happy life today, having lost awareness of reality. Our shallow attitude towards everything around us often seamlessly masks our everyday anxiety, yet the “happinesses” that the young artist’s photographs capture reveal themselves in all their naked material beauty here.
The need for happiness is very individual, yet here and now I feel tempted to address the feeling of being coerced, the duty to be happy. And although the need for happiness is programmed in each of us, the society and its value orientations inevitably influence its form and intensity. In the age of the construction and satisfaction of desires, the fear of being unhappy is probably the biggest obstacle to feeling happy, while the antonym of happiness has become the synonym of abnormality.
Happiness in Lithuania is a photographic typology of happiness, which lays bare banality, vanity, and the fact that we are content with the mere outward image of happiness. Although it contains a hint of irony, this project goes beyond national borders and calls for supporting the politics associated with the ethics of unwillingness. Paraphrased and recontextualised, the famous Frenchman Stéphane Hessel’s phrase “to create is to resist, to resist is to create” seems to inform the paradoxical determination to resist the imposed concept of happiness, which is precisely the essence of Mindaugas Azusilis’s work.
— Egle Deltuvaite
Award-winning work from Ukraine — Migrants from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia sell fruit and vegetables (among other things) late into the night on the roadsides in Ukraine near the Black Sea, catering to tourists and locals, and fighting off thieves.
Finalist, LensCulture Earth Awards:
Gone are the days when African wildlife roamed freely: but the latest models of community-based conservation offer protection for the animals and perhaps some sustainable economic models for the humans at the same time.
makes portraits of young Americans who have volunteered to serve in the ROTC army training program. She captures the inner-tensions created when these young people learn to assume a second persona to perform their roles as army officers.
Loving attention to the "now"—a moment of fraternity and family strength—portraiture as the art of observation. See the winning images and read statements about how these stunning single shots came into being.