Photographer Spotlight Interview with Mantas Kubilinskas Photography – Washington, D.C.

Photojournalistic wedding photographer washington dc .jpg

All Photos © Mantas Kubilinskas

With recognition from a plethora of photography publications, an incredible five winning images across four different Junebug Weddings Best of the Best contests, as well as a Rangefinder Grand Prize win, it would be easy to believe Mantas Kubilinskas had found his photography comfort zone. Yet, Mantas finds happiness by continually studying his art, discovering new techniques, and experimenting stylistically. Each of those winning images is so different from the next, whether it be a long shot from dozens of feet above to a super intimate black and white portrait. Still, his work has such a distinctive personality much like his own: something of bold artistry, daring compositions, and an overall jovial charm.

Give us a classic, ‘First Day of School’ introduction of yourself:

Born and raised in Lithuania, I found my way to the US about ten years ago. After working various short-term jobs, I finally decided to pursue my true passion – photography. Currently based in Washington, DC, I specialize in creative photojournalism with an editorial flair. With each wedding, I strive to document the complete essence of the love story from start to finish – to capture the spontaneous and unexpected moments as they unfold throughout the day. I believe that this unique approach is a representation of my character, my past, and my journey to where I am today.

Is there an aspect of wedding photography that you find consistently challenging?

I feel that each wedding is challenging and unique. That’s what inspires me and continues to drive my search for new techniques, skills, and methods. I turn this challenge into an opportunity to capture something in each wedding that perfectly depicts the mood and personality of each couple.

What aspect of your job never ceases to give you butterflies or make you excited?

Simple – people.

Describe an average day for you.

No day for me is average! But typically I have a morning or early afternoon engagement session, then editing of prior sessions or weddings, work on emails and marketing, and end with an evening meeting with clients. One thing I never miss is an evening walk; today is day 170 in my goal to walk each night.

What is your favorite moment or tradition at weddings?

When I am able to capture the first moment of the couple after the ceremony; the first few moments of them as husband and wife. There is an amazing change in their aura and emotion full of happiness, relief, and bliss.

Best DC Wedding Photographer.jpg

What is your favorite image that you’ve taken?  Can you describe how you created it? What is it that makes it different?

The image of the plane shadow over the couple on the paddleboards comes to mind. I laugh when I remember how many different scenarios I received from friends and colleagues suggesting I used drones, Photoshop or other unusual techniques. The story is that I stood on the Key Bridge as I was capturing an engagement session. My plan was to photograph them laying on the boards looking at the sky. Since I was up so high on the bridge, they could not hear my directions and so I just continued to take pictures. I remember at one point everything casting over with a shadow but I never realized what caused it. A few days later as I was working on the session and going through the images, my jaw dropped as I discovered the airplane’s perfect shadow projected in the photo.

In your opinion, what is different about wedding photography in comparison to other forms and categories?

Wedding photography to me is about human emotion. There is no staging involved, like the look in the groom’s eyes when he sees his bride coming down the aisle or a father’s hug to his daughter after their father/daughter dance.

Wedding photography also incorporates at least seven categories of photography. It is challenging yet rewarding, as I have to be knowledgeable in other categories (such as photojournalism, portraits, landscapes) in order to deliver a complete product to my clients.

If you could capture anything else, who/what/where would you love to be able to photograph?

Stars! As challenging as it is to capture human emotion, being able to capture images of stars and galaxies is one of my long-lived dreams.

Have you made any life-long friends within the industry?

YES! Many of my daily interactions are with people I met while attending photography seminars such as Mystic Seminars, the Fearless Conference, and the Canada Photo Convention, just to name a few.

What is your favorite thing to do when not working?

As funny as it may sound, outside of work I enjoy learning about photography; learning about new techniques and about the latest equipment. I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them. Maybe that’s why I don’t see photography as work. 

Since I do a fair share of traveling I have come to enjoy outdoors. I do a lot of hiking, kayaking and walking. I find it gives me a great opportunity to learn a new place and also spend time with my thoughts.

Wedding Happines By Mantas Kuilinskas.jpg

What do you feel most grateful for about your career, in its current state?

I am grateful for the success I have been able to achieve in what seems to me such a short period of time. I feel that I have been very blessed with the professional connections and amount of work I continue to obtain each day of my career.

We love learning the history of photographers and the motivation that keeps them going. Thank you to Mantas, who we couldn’t be more proud to have as a member and consistent contest winner. To see more of his award-winning imagery, please head to his Junebug portfolio!

Sokiu Svente 2016 Baltimore MD

The crowd was on its feet Sunday, cheering for the final number as nearly 1,800 dancers streamed onto the arena floor.

Dance troupes came from the Baltimore suburbs, Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles, everywhere in between. Boys and girls, parents and grandparents skipped and whooped into the finale of the 15th North American Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival.

For three hours Sunday afternoon at Baltimore's Royal Farms Arena, performers, mostly Americans, waltzed and polka'd in the traditional routines their grandparents danced decades ago in Lithuania.

"You're keeping the culture going," said Rytis Grybauskas, a dance instructor at the Baltimore Lithuanian Hall.

Since the inaugural performance in Chicago in 1957, the massive, choreographed festival has come every four years to an American city. The 15th festival featured 45 troupes from 29 cities. The oldest dancer was 77; the youngest, 7.

"Music, song and dance, whether there were good times or bad times, it still allowed people to keep up their spirits," said Algis Silas, of Chicago, a festival spokesman.

Grybauskas' parents arrived in the United States as World War II refugees and clung to the traditions of their homeland. As a boy at Saturday classes, he learned the traditional steps and the handholds, similar to square dancing. About 40 local dancers participated Sunday from his Baltimore troupe. During rehearsals Saturday, their T-shirts said "hometown team."

Sunday's performance featured a challenging dziugunas step to imitate the movements of a horse. It wasn't easy, even for the instructor Grybauskas.

From big-time festivals to concerts and everything in between, the best of what the city and the surrounding areas has to offer in July. 

"I'm 58," he said, laughing, "and I'm trying to do this scissor step."

Other dances portrayed scenes from the forest and farm work, such as chopping wood and cutting wheat. One dance represented a rooster's call. In another, women danced ballet steps like graceful birds.

They wore blonde braids and woven cotton aprons, the patterns bright and intricate from particular Lithuanian villages. Some women danced with crowns of flowers in their hair. A man wore a rich necktie and a handmade sash. The sashes can take up to 40 hours to weave.

Andrius Blekys, of Chicago, groaned as another dancer stretched the 18-year-old's ankles.

"You're constantly jumping around," Blekys said.

The men wore moccasins and thin-soled ballet slippers.

"Most of us are not professional dancers," said John Howes, an attorney from Rockville.

On the floor, troupes formed circles and danced in merging lines: a kaleidoscope of geometric patterns. The first act represented a Lithuanian leaving the family farm.

The second act portrayed the search for a new home, the labors of a traveler. The final act celebrated that dream of home beneath a starry sky.

Then cannons fired confetti above the arena floor. Some 1,800 people danced beneath the gold shimmer.

The act ended, but they danced on. The music quickened with the electric peal of rock 'n' roll.

Some children, in their woven aprons, fists clenched with gold confetti, began a conga line.

And one teenage boy, his brow drenched with sweat, leaned into an air guitar.


Interview with JpegMini

In West Lithuania-born and raised, in D.C. is where he spends most of his days. OK, maybe he’s not from West Lithuania, and maybe I just had the theme song to ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air‘ in my head, but that’s the fun side Mantas brings out in me. He is one of those guys who can befriend you immediately. It’s an amazing trait that comes in handy as a photographer.

Full article:

Quick glimpse into my world

Every morning I wake up I see images. Various images. Countries, seas, landscapes, human emotions or various streets and buildings embodying endless stories. They all have become an important part of my being, my mind and my soul.
These images traveled in front of my eyes, through my camera lens and into my being in order to form me into what I am today. One who seeks and one who finds what he is seeking for. One who looks and one who sees the world. One who is not yet as great as I will be tomorrow, but continuously better than I was yesterday.

August 29

Kyleigh is a 15 year old who has surpassed all expectations and moved beyond her boundaries. Being a survivor of cancer, Kyleigh was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 12.  From that day forward, her reality included monitoring her blood sugar intake, insulin and constantly counting carbs.

With all that she has gone through, I was amazed at the smile that stayed on her face.  In 2014, she applied for a grant to receive a diabetic alert dog through Service Dogs For Warren Retrievers. These dogs are known for being able to alert patients when blood sugar levels are high or low. As well, they have the capability to notify EMS.

When I heard about the trial and tribulation that this young girl went through, I felt it was my civil duty to be there for this day. I knew I had to be at a wedding on the same day, but I woke bright and early so I could make to both events. On August 29, I was given the opportunity to watch as Kyleigh met her new faithful companion. Love comes in many forms and sometimes even from two different beings. Love is acceptance and being there when life tears you down. I am still and forever will be truly humbled by the experience of seeing these two unite.