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My grandfather, Gregors, lived in 6 different countries during his lifetime, without ever moving outside a 100 km radius circle.  Born in the Latvian town of Cēsis where ancient red stone castles have been riding the waves of green hills for centuries, he moved, along with his family, several times, all within that 100 km circle, displaced by wars, a revolution, famine, fear of persecution, purges, expatriation.  His life encompassed the Russian revolution, Latvia’s first freedom of 1918, WWII, German and Soviet occupations, Stalinist purges, and Latvia’s second freedom of 1990.

My other grandfather, Иван (Ivan), was snatched away in the early days of WWII, his son-my father-under his mother's young heart.  The only time anyone heard of him again took a form of a curt government note sent to my grandmother saying: Пропал без вести ("missing in action")

Two distant lives, one long, another one short, that were to merge and leave indelible impressions.  Gregors taught me to look at things around me, and to pay attention.  He taught me to seek out beauty in the most mundane.  Иван taught me the meaning of void and of silence.  Together, without ever knowing of the other, they taught me to seek balance and to pay attention to the fragile ephemeral states that are found between the silence and the sound, between the light and the shadow.  Their life stories have urged me to grow my 100km circle.   So, I keep on traveling, and I keep on looking... 

I was born in Rīga, Latvia, which was still at the time a fashionable annex to the U.S.S.R.  A murky premise brought our family to the Russian Arctic in the 1980-ies, where I started my studies of music, art, and architecture.  It was there that I, feeling like Alice in wonderland, started playing with my father's camera, spending hours in our makeshift darkroom, watching white squares become images and stories. 

The alternating rhythm of deep prolonged dips into the Arctic winters and summers brought forward new sensibility towards the power of light, shadow and color.  The awareness of this eternal dance between being and not being is something that has stayed with me.  Light - and its absence - has a strong presence for me.  Light is what brings forward life.  But without light, there is no shadow.  And I am but a glad watcher of this dance between shadow and light.  

Please come in, stay awhile.  

Enjoy the silence.  

And be heard: I would love hearing from you.  

Thank you! 

Photo by Imants Prēdelis