The Past is Present: Time and Space in Māra Brašmane’s Photographs of the Riga Central Market

"The Past is Present: Time and Space in Māra Brašmane’s Photographs of the Riga Central Market," in Centrāltirgus (Riga Central Market), a photo-book by Māra Brašmane, edited by Vladimir Svetlov and Anna Volkova, and designed by Alexey Murashko. Riga: Orbita, 2017. 

This book is one of the first three volumes in new photo book series "Public Space" carefully curated by artists Anna Volkova and Vladimir Svetlov and published by Riga-based creative group Orbita. They elevate the medium of photo book to the level of artwork on its own. The hardcover books are perfectly designed and wonderfully crafted, each a limited edition of 500.

I'm happy and proud to have contributed an essay to one of the books, featuring images by Latvian photographer Māra Brašmane. It is a selection of her photographs of the Centrāltirgus (Riga Central Market), one of the most visible landmarks of Riga and the city's most popular public space throughout the 20th century.

The series celebrate the 100th anniversary of Latvia's independence.

The essay is published in English and Latvian. 

 Mara  Brašmane. The Riga Central Market. Undated (c. early 1990s). From the book   Mara   Brašmane.  Central Market  (Riga: Orbita, 2017). 

Mara Brašmane. The Riga Central Market. Undated (c. early 1990s). From the book Mara Brašmane. Central Market (Riga: Orbita, 2017). 

The Riga Central Market is a landmark structure in the center of Riga, capital city of Latvia. It was built in the 1930s.  Māra Brašmane has photographed everyday life in this market in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and into the 2000s and 2010s. Through the changes in the marketplace you can observe the changes that Latvian society underwent in these decades. 

In this very personal essay, commissioned for a photo book by renowned Latvian photographer Māra Brašmane, I look back at my memories of growing up in Riga of the early 1990s. Her photographs of the Riga Central Market evoke some of the most vivid memories of poverty, despair, and hopelessness that characterize my and my family's life around the time when Latvia restored its independence from the Soviet Union. 

Download and read my essay here.

You can order the books from the series "Public Space" at the online bookstore Talka

This link goes directly to ordering Māra Brašmane's book Centrāltirgus (The Riga Central Market).