Within the framework of: Meeting Europe – Latvia
Artist : Andrejs Grants
Curator : Inese Baranovska
The entrance of Andrejs Grants into the world of Latvian photography at the beginning of the 1980s signaled the opening of a new era filled with hope, the time of a rebellious generation comprised of young architects, artists, writers and musicians, all in search of new ideas. These young people wished to extend the knowledge and the past experience that could be offered by the official Soviet powers. The Ogre Photo Studio, directed by the designer and photographer Egons Spuris, was one of these platforms for intellectuals. Many of them regularly made the half-hour journey from Riga to Ogre, a small provincial town, in order to discover the secrets of photography and to meet in the creative atmosphere that reigned in this club. Thanks to the vision and the spirit of openness conveyed by Egons Spuris, many figures who are famous today, such as Inta Ruka, Mara Brasmane, Andrejs Grants, Gvido Kajons and Martins Zelmenis, were able to discover their professional pathways. For Andrejs Grants, Egons Spuris was not only a professor but also a friend who helped him to embark upon the career of photography, in spite of his education as a lawyer, and to devote himself solely to creative endeavour.
Entering into the artistic world of Latvia, where photography was more oriented towards the salon photograph, Andrejs Grants injected not only his own vision but also his own protagonists representing quite precise layers of society. It was a matter of an alternative milieu where representatives of intellectual bohemianism were pursuing their development. The photographer fixed moments of reality – faces, backs, silhouettes in movement or at a standstill, the corner of a courtyard or of a garden, a room come upon by chance. Nothing is exaggerated or staged. Nevertheless, one is constantly surprised by this particular vision, by its structure and play of light. These moments of reality lead in a simple and unpretentious manner to a certain atmosphere, to a particular vibration of emotions that attracts the attention. The photographs of Andrejs Grants represent without a doubt the most expressive documentation of the rebellious generation from the 1980s.