The photograph by Ieva Epnere (1977) from the series 1 September adorns the cover of this year’s Latvian Photography Yearbook. The issue comes out today – the opening presentation is at 6pm at the Latvian Museum of Photography. The issue contains 16 photographs from this series, which Epnere is able to work on only one day a year. Epnere’s works are significant with interest in the life of the little man in periphery – whether they are children in suburb of Pļavnieki or the inhabitants of a little town Vaiņode in series The Green Land. This year she will graduate from the HISK Institute for Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium with a diploma in a post-academic course. During her studies, series Their Flemish Landscapes was created, where Epnere asked various people to choose, in their opinion, the most typical Flemish landscape and photographed them within this landscape.
Do you remember your first day at school?
I remember being photographed on the stairs of the school and, of course, the photograph that was made. I also remember the excitement and anxiety that overwhelmed me during the last weekend before school. I could not fall asleep and thought about what would happen on the first day…
Could you tell about any peculiar case while photographing the school children on the Day of Knowledge?
I have been taking photographs on the Day of Knowledge for the second year in a row. Last year I could not arrange any babysitter for my daughter and I had to take Lūcija with me, who was 2.5 years old at the time. On the day of photographing I had to walk long distances from one school to another. At some point I had to carry Lūcija and so she fell asleep on my arms. At times I had to ask some of the models to look after her while I’m taking photographs. Not that you can complain about being bored at such situations…
Whereas this year, when I left the film for developing, I received only half of the material – the other half was lost… I have not got a clue what might have happened – whether they were developed with the wrong chemicals or the film was exposed to light. Anyway, it was a very unpleasant surprise, because I lost many good shots… Now I have to wait for the next 1 September.
You have had very different photo series. What is the unifying element for all of them?
Interest in a human being.
What are the gains from studying at Ghent?
“Fresh air”, energy, freedom and satisfaction. During these two years I have had an opportunity to meet and discuss my artwork with such individuals as Gertrud Sandquist, Jan Debbaut, Katerina Gregos, Anselm Franke, Ana Torfs and others. I learnt a lot from my colleagues at the HISK. Each of us operates in a different field (sculpture, installation, video, sound). When I got enrolled, we were only two, who were working more or less with photography. The HISK is an ideal platform to start something new…
What project are you working on currently?
Now I am getting ready for the final exhibition at the HISK which will open in November. Afterwards I will continue to work on new projects, which will be exhibited at my solo show at kim? art centre in spring, 2013.