Come, child! Let’s listen to the bees singing, my aunt said to me almost every evening before we would go to bed. Looking at her white hair always reminded me about dandelions, so beautiful and fragile you almost fear to touch them. She used to sing a lot, especially, while working in the garden; songs about the nature surrounding her. We spent long hours talking about the family I never knew, but always considered to be part of.
I grew up looking at my parent’s family albums, imagining their lives before me. Trying to reconstruct the memories I didn’t have, imagining them over and over again in my mind. Somehow I always felt that the people I saw in these amateur photographs differed from the people I saw next to me every day. I felt these pictures, although connected with a particular history, triggered my own imagination, rather than gave me a specific knowledge of anything else. The ambivalence of the medium, its possibilities and its limitations suggest we should mistrust photography as a record of our lives and histories. Yet I went to a small and remote village where my mother and grandmother were born to create my personal family album with aunts and relatives I had never met before. Every person I got to know became a part of my story. It was like closing my eyes and loosing myself within this place, which has been so essential to my family. I’m not dreaming about other places anymore. This is one I will always return to.
My work addresses the idea of “looking back” as a framing device and a narrative mode. For the last two years, I have documented people from the village called Pilcene in the Eastern side part of Latvia. In search for the last traces of my family here, I looked for the people who used to know my grandmother. Through their stories I became aware of their attachment to the land and the houses they live in. I believe, this place has become their lifestyle; one, which is going to disappear soon.
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