Edition of 500
150 x 200 mm
Myself, Friends, Lovers and Others is a photographic series by Latvian photographer Arnis Balcus. Most images were taken between 2000 and 2004, shot on Olympus Mju II film camera.
Being one of the first projects of its kind in Eastern Europe, it paints an intimate portrait of the first post-soviet generation and their everyday life around the Millennium. “I guess it’s just a coincidence that the project ended when Latvia joined the EU in 2004. In that year I moved to London to study and suddenly my life changed – I broke up with my girlfriend, disconnected from people in Latvia and started to do a bit different photography. While working on the edit of the book I have browsed through tons of images. There is a strange feeling about time and connection. It’s like finding your old diary when some words trigger memories, but some makes you think it’s about someone else. It feels vintage but at the same time relevant and courageous. I feel this work is worth being re-discovered and preserved.
The photographs in the book were mostly taken in Latvia, as well as Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Lithuania, where the artist regurarly travelled or stayed in artist residencies. “After a group exhibition [Ars Baltica photo triennale] in Germany I was offered a residency in Wiepersdorf in July/August of 2000. It is a small village next to Jüterbog, some 80 km south of Berlin. There was not even a shop, nothing, just an old mansion where artists and writers were staying on full board. I was too young and had no idea what to do with this opportunity. I was dying of boredom there and started to fool around with my snapshot camera a lot. And I was escaping to Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg. Back then I loved big cities and could not appreciate country side. First images were self-portraits and still lifes. This is where the idea of the series originated,” recalls Arnis.
About the Artist
Arnis Balcus was born in Riga, Latvia. He is a documentary photographer whose work focuses on exploring Latvian identity, history, and society. He approaches his subjects in a straightforward, raw manner, using photography as a means of documenting and preserving the world around him. Through his images, he aims to capture the essence of his subjects, whether they be environment, society, or youth.
In his work, Balcus seeks to shed light on the complexities and nuances of Latvian life, and to challenge viewers to think about the world in new and unexpected ways. His images are powerful and evocative, inviting viewers to look beyond the surface and to consider the deeper meanings and implications of what they see. Ultimately, he hopes that his work will inspire people to engage more fully with their own identities and the world around them, and to see the beauty and significance in even the most mundane or overlooked aspects of life.
About the Publisher
dienacht Publishing is an independent photobook publisher whose aim is to showcase carefully selected photographers through a limited circulation of beautifully produced books.