The magic of photography (by E.Paplauskis)

Is it possible to capture the movements of boulders at the bottom of the sea, or to photograph the vitality of a stone or the movements of a hill?

This is about the hill which is called Olandų kepurė (The Dutchman’s Hat, or Cap) and the boulders on the coast of the Baltic Sea. It might sound a bit odd, but the photographs by Algirdas Darongauskas could be entitled “Stones on the Move”.

The Dutchman’s Hat, standing out on the very shore of the sea is a very unusual sight in Lithuania. This is probably why it attracts so many photographers and romantics who like to view the sunset from its height of 24 meters.

The inquisitive photographer will not miss the hill and all the boulders scattered around. When the eye becomes accustomed to the pastel colours of the sand and the dunes, the hill suddenly emerges and brings you to an abrupt standstill. Many of those who see this view just take a photograph. But when people see Algirdas Darongauskas photographs they ask – “Where is this place?” In spite of the fact that they saw this view just a couple of days ago…

This is the magic of photography. You can spend hours arguing whether it is art or not. The human being has not created anything. But this is only the first deceptive impression. When you first visit the Dutchman’s Hat you will never see what you see in the photographs. For the boulders, which are scattered around the hill, are constantly changing: some of them disappear under water, new ones appear on the surface, others grow long beards only to lose them after a while. These are the living stones. Algirdas manages to see this. He knows intuitively that he has fallen on a small miracle. But when you realise how many weeks, months or even years the photographer has spent here, everything seems possible. He has spent hours just lying in the sea, paddling around those slippery stones, meditating or just watching a stone. Only those who realise this are able see these invisible scenes.

Who is this Algirdas Darongauskas? Just another Samogitian pagan who has fallen in love with nature? A still life poet? A stranger paddling among the slippery stones? What does he really want to tell us, this wandering stranger? It must be something really important. It must be. Otherwise, why would he spend all his money on films and forget about food and comfort? What is his reason for wading into the cold water or to lie on the stones and take photograph, after photograph, after photograph?..

It’s all here before you and it depends only upon you, how you interpret the letter from the Dutchman’s Hat. Be careful! Do not fall into the trap of becoming a magic photographer yourself. Then you will have to say good bye to the real world and start observing strange things in ordinary places. But nobody who has had his eyes opened to the magic of nature has ever complained.

Erlandas Paplauskis, Senior ecologist of the Seaside regional park 2007


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