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Andrejs Grants. Photo: Arnis Balčus

What is the point of reference for your retrospective?

It’s a concentrated selection, an attempt to offer the desired thought. Naturally, a certain line must be drawn. But I’m saved by the fact that I’ve chosen to work on collections, and can create them until the end of my life; they are open. In the exhibit, I didn’t want to show works chronologically; I put out the picture haphazardly, because essentially not much changes in the world. There are eternal values that remain. Games with time are interesting. Whether or not something changes within me, that’s probably easier to decide when viewed from afar. Perhaps the compositions have become more open, purposely or accidentally more inattentive.

How much can one photograph tell?

Everything! It’s an ideal to strive for, but essentially it doesn’t have any meaning. It’s more interesting for me to create cycles, or collections, which differ from series because each work is independent and complete unto itself. A series, where one pictures associatively or literarily supplements and explain another, is a normal contemporary form. Today we see the world more fragmentarily. The most important thing is to tell. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed that series today are more like a middle road: a mosaic is built, but doesn’t harmonize. In this context I’ve thought of Wolfgang Tillmans—he has such an inattentive, snapshot aesthetic approach to images, but knows precisely how to present this. All of the elements merge together and engender a conviction in the direction of his thought. Many people want to be like him, but unfortunately they manage to do this only externally. 

People have different tastes and perceptions. Even a single food can taste differently to two people. Does photography have some fundamental values that can be engaging to everyone—its salt and pepper?

We all perceive the most essential things in a similar way, and those are things that conform to such decorative words as “eternal” and “timeless.” If you touch upon these themes—and they are interesting to me, too—then you can always find something to agree upon. You mustn’t overly aestheticize simple things; their essence is real.

I’ll admit that I didn’t know all the places where your Around Latvia photographs were taken. What are your favorite places in Latvia?

(Laughs.) I’m more drawn toward Kurzeme. Perhaps because of the unique light in this region. For example, the light in Mazirbe or Dundaga is completely different from the light in, say, Ludza. I’m engaged by the atmosphere that’s created in that light.

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