The Photograph as Art in Latvia, 1960-1969 (2011)
Riga: Neputns, 2011. 168 pages, parallel text in English and Latvian.
The book on the publisher's website. (sold out)
Please contact me at atifentale at gradcenter dot cuny dot edu if you would like to consult the full version of the book for your research. Thank you!
About the book:
The Photograph as Art in Latvia, 1960-1969 is the first contemporary study about the recent past of Latvian photographic art. The 1960s is a magical decade in Western culture and Latvia as well. Being artificially separated from the European and global information circuit by the Soviet regime, Latvian artists nevertheless were looking for--and found--the way to be in contact and interact with this circuit.
During the 1960s, some Latvian photographers succeeded in attaining what was forbidden (or limited) for representatives of other arts--they participated in international exhibitions, and they developed modernist aesthetics and a system of artistic imagery based on Western art and distinctively different from the dominant visual culture of the Soviet Union.
The book gives an insight into the most significant stylistic trends and means of expression characteristic of the Latvian photographic art of the 1960s. This time constitutes the part of the 20th century Latvian visual art heritage that has not been sufficiently studied until now. The author analyses works of photographic art by Latvian authors created between 1960 and 1969 that were exhibited in Latvian and international exhibitions and/or were reproduced in photography magazines, photobooks, and exhibition catalogues with an international circulation.
Photographic art in Latvia during the Soviet period--after the Second World War, developed differently from the way it did in the Western world. The pivotal moment in the development of photography in postwar Latvia came in 1962, with the establishment of the Riga Camera Club, which quickly grew into a major creative hub for Latvia and for the rest of the USSR. Its importance in the region is comparable to the significance of Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante, a São Paulo-based photo club which in the 1950s and early 1960s united the most visible Brazilian modernist photographers and artists
Although established as an amateur organization--just like its better known counterpart Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante in São Paulo, the Riga Camera Club was a place where strong, creative personalities came together, where certain aesthetic criteria were established, where information was exchanged intensively, and where creative tension was maintained by a spirit of competition.
One of the main spheres of activity at the club was organizing annual exhibitions which shaped the ideas of that time regarding the photograph as a work of art. No less important was the participation of several photographers associated with the club in international exhibitions of photography that in the 1960s made photographic art something of a privileged field. Most of the works reproduced in this volume have been shown at international exhibitions of photographic art in the 1960s outside of the USSR.
Sample pages from the book: