Antanas Sutkus (b. 1939) bought his first camera as a child, having not earned enough to buy a bicycle when digging peat with his mother. He later became a photojournalist and, since 1968, has worked as an independent photographer. He has also helped Lithuanian photographers gain international recognition as co-founder and President of the Photography Art Society of Lithuania, which championed photography as an art form. His humanistic approach, heavily influenced by the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, comes to the fore in his images of people, young and old. Filled with romance, beauty and sadness, they move beyond photographic realism to resemble stills from an unmade film. His stated aim is ‘to make an attempt at drawing a psychological portrait of contemporary man’.
He is best known “for his life-long survey, People of Lithuania,” begun in 1976 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.