Riga: Neputns, 2009. 240 pages, hardcover, parallel text in English and Latvian.
Edited by Alise Tifentale.
Essays by Laima Slava, Katrina Teivane-Korpa, and Alise Tifentale.
This album comprises works by a famous Latvian photographer Jānis Kreicbergs (1939-2011) over 45 years, from 1960 to 2005, within a geographically vast area including USA, Europe, and Asia and under various political regimes – the USSR during the Khrushchev Thaw, Soviet bloc and Western countries on both sides of the “iron curtain” during the Cold War, and the renewed independent Republic of Latvia post-1991.
The album contains widely published and exhibited works along with first publications - photographs that art editor Zenta Dzividzinska discovered while working with Jānis Kreicbergs’ photo archives.
All of his works contain motifs (in subject matter and formal qualities) that make them unmistakeably his, if compared to the work of most of his contemporaries. We could say that he had his own “style”, a term interpreted by Barthes as an “organised network of obsessions.” Kreicbergs’ network of ideas consists of spontaneity, freedom and sensuality).
There is also a thematic leitmotif: interpretation of the feminine image and individuality, shifting between the universal (sexuality) and the individual (personality). Another important element is Kreicbergs’ photographic manner with its set of unique features, which combines the principles of snapshot and staged photography (a blend of elements from 1960s studio photography, from so-called street photography, press and report photography, as well as fashion and advertising photo stylistics). These subjective qualities along with the ever-present historically documentary aspect make Kreicbergs’ selected works a unique value within the context of European and Latvian history of photographic art.