Lonely Planet Writer

Crowd-sourced stock photography site aims to capture the ‘real’ Lithuania

A clever website following the stock photography model has launched in Lithuania. Real is Beautiful Stock asks users, whether they’re professional photographers or casual holiday snappers, to upload their images of Lithuania to the shared platform. In doing so, they’re creating a diverse and interesting picture of the country that doesn’t focus on any one clichéd area or landmark. Rather, it includes places off-the-beaten track and hidden gems visitors to the country mightn’t be aware of.

Stunning Lithuania
Stunning Lithuania. Image by Real is Beautiful Stock

“The idea behind Real is Beautiful Stock is to create an open online platform that shares the first person impression, rather than an artificial version of Lithuania” explains Tomas Ramanauskas, one of the project’s creators. “Lithuanians, tourists, visitors, as well as involved organisations are encouraged both to upload their photos and freely use others.”

Users upload their images to share on the website.
Users upload their images to share on the website. Image by Real is Beautiful Stock

“Everyone’s a photographer now”, he continues, “so although professional photography is highly regarded, with this platform we’re mainly inviting amateurs to donate their photos. This is a platform to showcase how a country is seen by its own people, instead of one official version. There are many facets of what we find beautiful in Lithuania.”

The website creators want to share the 'real' Lithuania.
The website creators want to share the ‘real’ Lithuania. Image by Real is Beautiful Stock

During the website’s first two weeks, nearly 800 amateur and professional photographers uploaded more than 1200 photos. Tomas and the team hope that it will continue to go from strength to strength. “It is expected that this stock will grow substantially over the coming months, and serve as an example to other countries. There’s so much untapped crowd-sourced potential when it comes to a nation building its own image. It will be a helpful database for the media; like journalists and bloggers too.”

Blue skies over Lithuania.
Blue skies over Lithuania. Image by Real is Beautiful Stock

“Real is Beautiful Stock is the combined effort of several companies, including creative, digital, PR agencies and a law firm, none of whom received pay for any work”, Tomas concludes. “The only cost was buying domains for €30.”