Andrejs Grants. Photographing Internal Landscapes
Interview by Elīna Ruka 12/05/2011
In his retrospective exhibit Andrejs Grants: Photographs, 1980-2010 at the Latvian National Museum of Art, photographer Andrejs Grants displays the four cornerstones of his career: the collections Impressions; Around Latvia; Colleagues, Friends, Acquaintances; and TravelNotes. These are stories about feelings, thoughts, and relationships, which the artist has visualized in black-and-white photography. Grants speaks quietly and contemplatively. His photographs are like this too: compliant, yet saturated. They seem to reflect a simple and understandable documentation of the surrounding environment, but don’t be too hasty in judging them—these images hide many wonderful surprises!
Andrejs Grants (1955) earned a jurist’s diploma at the University of Latvia. He was a member of the Ogre Photo Studio from 1978–1988 and a cofounder and member of the informal photo group A from 1984–1992. For more than thirty years, Grants has taught photography at the Annas 2 Center for Creative Learning in Riga. He has had more than thirty solo exhibits, in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, France, Turkey, and elsewhere, and has participated in more than forty group exhibits in Latvia and abroad. Grants received a Hasselblad Foundation grant in 1998, and won the Latvian Artists Union Award in 2001 for remarkable achievements in photography. His works are included in the permanent collections at the Latvian Photography Museum, the Odense Photography Museum, and the Musee de l’Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland, as well as in private collections in Latvia, Switzerland, Poland, the United States, Canada, Belgium, and Germany.
When did you start taking pictures?
(Laughs.) I can’t even remember! You can’t draw the line so easily… My father gave me a camera and ruined my life! More for himself than for others, because he had imagined me in a different profession, in the social sphere. I took my first pictures when I was fifteen years old, but this story is the same for everybody from that era: when we developed the photos ourselves, it wasn’t anything special.