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04. Vaclovas Straukas, “The Final Bell”

Soviet-era uniforms couldn’t conceal individual features, the sexuality of young bodies or their tumultuous emotions. A youthful rebelliousness becomes evident against the background of ideological symbols. A joyous excitement radiates from the faces of school children, masking any uncertainty about their future. While working as Lithuanian language teacher for two decades, Vaclovas Straukas captured authentic moments in the last days of a school year in his series The Final Bell. In this respect, his photographs are not only a work of art, but also a unique documentary testimonial. Straukas’ work is poetic and optimistic. He focuses his attention on small joys experienced by people of different ages. How are such personal celebrations viewed by contemporary photographers?

Vaclovas Straukas
The Final Bell, 1979
Silver bromide print, 43 × 42
MO Museum collection