William A. Ewing
Publisher Kaunas Photography Gallery, 2015
Books / Signed Books /
“Sutkus’s series People of Lithuania is considered one of his most important works. It is a continuing project to document the changing life and people of Lithuania. Working at the time when Lithuania (as the Lithuanian SSR) was part of the Soviet Union, Sutkus focused on black and white portraits of ordinary people in their everyday life rather than the model citizens and workers promoted by Soviet propaganda.
“A Classicist in the great tradition of 20th-century street photography, Antanas Sutkus is widely regarded as Lithuania’s greatest photographer, her Cartier-Bresson. His focus on children will also remind viewers of Helen Levitt, the crucial difference being one of place. Levitt captures New York City’s grit and melancholy whereas Sutkus depicts Lithuania’s rural, small-town charm, innocence, and natural beauty. Starting with the lovely cover portrait, every photograph in the collection is about a child or has a child in it. Of course, the camera loves children. Still, Sutkus’ photographs of children are not sentimental. They are, instead, genuinely affecting, and will leave one moved upon first encountering them. Through them, Sutkus captures everyday life in his beloved Lithuania with clarity of vision and profound empathy.” (Modernrare)
“Sutkus is a people, not a things photographer, even though there are always plenty of “things” that reveal the rough order of life. He is very interested in what we often call a “daily struggle” – how do those, whom he meets on the way, live. Sutkus never hid behind the camera and the subjects he photographs often look right into the lens. When this happens we become like a sort of witnesses of silent interrogation. And it is paradoxical – we too are interrogated. Sutkus has a rare gift, which only a few other photographers have: he is able to smoothly and naturally blend with environment. Children, young or old people, fellow artists, politicians, city, country… Often people look like they are waiting for something, or maybe just stopped for a second… It seems that they have stopped because of him, as if to share the moment of openness with this perfect, compassionate stranger.” (William A. Ewing)