/ Daniels Mekšs / Photo story

Underwater Trees

The sea in the North, the railways in the South, the nine-storied blocks of apartments in the West and the forest in the East – this is how I could approximately sketch the place where I grew up.

Mediocrity – so common in small communities – is what characterizes this place. I could even say that a broader perspective and higher goals are perceived here as unwanted foreign bodies, only spoiling the air. Yet, at the same time, the guys dream of becoming millionaires, snorting cocaine and shagging pornstars, whereas little girls pretend they are high-society ladies and dream of marrying a millionaire husband.

But these dreams are cheap – they will never come true. And at the weekend the cream of the neighborhood will meet in the local bar and waffle on about their boring lives over and over again.

I suffocate in this little life, cheap beauty and vulgarity. Why would I care? Because I am the epitome of the worst that can be found here. Still, it’s here I grew up, here that my first views on life were formed. Here I learnt the basics of maths and smoking, here I fell in love and into the hands of the police, here I chewed sunflower seeds and dove under the water, here I pumped my attitude and biceps, came to know friendship and the hangover. I am part of this place. The walls, the trees and the asphalt keep memories of my existence – the sweet primary school “Atvase” (Offspring), the big life in the high school, the beer in the dunes, cycling in summer evenings, shivering when seeing beautiful girls from the upper years and when young thugs ask you for money on the street.

In this place I learnt to love the sea and the trees. The spring and the fall. My yard and lengthy walks. I am a child of Jūrmala. And I have never been able to distance myself from this place and let it go.

It still lives in me. I am a different person now. I could even claim that I am the total opposite of what I used to be and still – there are no contradictions. Do I have a moral responsibility towards this place? I don’t know, I am an egoist, a self-seeker and I am getting out of here.

Daniels Mekšs (1994) has studied photography at Andrejs Grants masterclass and ISSP School. Currently he is living and studying in New York.