In the middle of May, the Swedish publishing house Max Ström came out with the voluminous book “People I Know”, featuring photographs by the Latvian photographer Inta Ruka (1958). With text in both English and Swedish, the retrospective includes more than 150 photographs from three of Ruka's most famous photo series: “My Country People”, “People I've Met”, and “Amālija Street 5a”. For almost 20 years, the publisher Max Ström has dealt in issuing mostly large-format photographic books. Seventeen people work at the publishing house, turning out approximately twenty books a year; their offices are on the Stockholm island of Skeppsholmen, right next to the Museum of Modern Art, where Ruka had a solo show in 2008. This summer, Ruka's solo show will be held at the Stockholm exhibition space Katerineholms Konsthall. The opening is scheduled for May 31, which will also be the official public presentation of the new book; the solo show will be exhibited until August 19.
Inta Ruka's 1986 photograph “Iveta, Edgars and Daina Tavare, Balvi, Latvia”
Proud of the beautiful new book, we contacted Inta Ruka to learn more about its history. “Jeppe Wikström, the head of the publishing house, came up with the idea of publishing a retrospective book. He had seen my photographs in Stockholm, and had a finished idea and title for the book, before work on it had even begun,” says Ruka, who is very satisfied with the results. “The book has simply fantastic type, it's very high quality work. For an artist, it's both great luck and an honor if an international publisher wants to put out a book like that.” Selection of the photographs was done by Ruka's good friend and colleague, Lars Tunbjörk, in cooperation with the designer Patric Leo. An essay on Ruka's creative career, by Ute Eskildsen, head of the Essen Photography Museum, is also included in the new book.
Inta Ruka is one of today's most well-known masters of portrait photography; her international success began in 1999, when she represented Latvia at the Venice Biennial. On the homepage of Max Ström publishing house, Ruka is described as “the most famous photographer in Latvia”. Ruka has participated in many international exhibitions, and her work can be found in various collections, such as those of the already-mentioned Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, the Essen Photography Museum, KUMU, and elsewhere.