By Vanessa Winship
By Eve Arnold, NYC, 1984
By Dorothea Lange, 1964
By Inge Morath,
“I started taking pictures when I was in high school in Italy many years ago—my first camera was a Nikon FM that I borrowed from my father. Back in the day, I used to develop and print photos at home in an improvised darkroom. I can still recall that feeling of anticipation from each image I was about to develop. Ever since then, photography has become an inseparable part of my life, and along the way, my focus and style have changed and evolved.
I incorporate all kinds of subject matter in my photographs: architecture, nature, weather, and humans, among other things. More than anything, I want to show how we interact with spaces; I try to combine street photography and an awareness of architectural spaces. In the beginning, I was mainly interested in travel, geometric patterns, and portraits. During my years at the University of Architecture in Venice, however, my main focus naturally shifted to architecture and buildings.
After that: New York City! It’s a unique city with so many stories. Those stories triggered my passion when I moved here 7 years ago. I like to observe people and travel through their lives using my imagination (and my camera).
My photos are tied to people and their environment, their movements, and their emotions. I’m interested in the little quirks that connect us as humans—those are the mundane things I want to document with my photography. Shooting has become a daily routine for me: I feel that it brings the world a little closer to me, especially in New York City.
When I photograph, I focus first on the people, then the light. My pictures are not necessarily about beauty, but more about hunting people in this “concrete jungle.” I like strong contrasts, comic situations, and interesting faces, and this is reflected in my style: my images are often high-contrast and try to convey a unique intimacy.”
The series “Sit Silently” examines the signs of time in the rites of subcultures surrounding the capital of Latvia, Riga. It captures the places where “modern Europe” meets the elements of the Soviet times, which conflict and overlap at the same time. These overlapping elements appear creatively in interiors, exteriors, portraits and still-life images depicting the everyday and leisurely pastimes.
The pictures capture the author’s search for a slower time zone that contains more vivid and open expressions, as well as a sense of home and creativity of daily routines beyond the usual urban experience.
The series is also an author’s journey of recreation—escaping from “focus” and looking for her own (Latvian) identity or core, while admiring peripheral moments with their own significance, values and feeling. If, for example, one looks from the East, Kengarags is on the periphery of Riga, Latgale is the periphery of Latvia, and Latvia is the periphery of Europe.
The series’ title is an abbreviation of a piece from “Google Poetics” and consists of phrases that are popularly searched on internet and are associated with sitting: “Sit silently /sit silently doing nothing / we sit silently and watch the world / we sit silently and watch.”
This reminds me of a passage from Franz Kafka:
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”