I’ve always been fascinated with family albums. I grew up looking at my parent’s family albums, imagining their lives before me. Trying to reconstruct the memories that I didn’t have, but at the same time living them over and over again in my imagination. Somehow I always felt that the people I saw in these amateur photographs were different from those I saw close to me every day. I felt that photographs, although connected with a certain historical past, worked better as triggers of my own imagination, rather than giving me a specific knowledge of anything else. The ambivalence of the medium of photography, its possibilities and its limitations suggest we should mistrust photography as a record of our lives and histories. Yet there are numerous photographic works that deal with the concept of memory, in which artists become poets rather than historians.
For the last year, I have documented people from a remote village called Pilcene in the Eastern side part of Latvia. My work addresses the idea of looking back as a framing device and a narrative mode. Searching for the last traces of my family in this village, I chase after the people who used to know my grandmother. Through their stories I see the life that has vanished, although most of people still live the way their ancestors used to. In a way, this place has become their lifestyle; one which I feel, is going to disappear soon.
By photographing the life and people of my grandmother’s childhood village I try to recreate the place I never had chance to know. Yet people I met now work as a mirror with a memory helping to reveal the past of my own family.
Built with Berta