ISSP Internship: Maya Vieth

Photo: Maya Vieth

We are happy to introduce Maya Vieth, an emerging photographer from Germany who has been our intern for the past 3 months! If you have been following us on social media, you probably have already noticed Maya's sensitive documentation of the recent events happening at ISSP. In addition, she has contributed to lots of the behind-the-scenes work, helping us in day-to-day activities.

Please introduce yourself! Who are you and what is your journey in photography?

Hi, I'm Maya, and I come from the small town of Weimar, where I graduated this year with my Bachelor's degree in Visual Communication from the Bauhaus University. I grew up in a very sparsely populated area in Germany on the border with Poland. I started taking photographs there as a teenager. It was a lot about myself, life in the village, nature, my friends. I think I discovered the camera as a tool for getting to know myself and my surroundings, and it still is. For me, photography also means the possibility of visualising the multiple layers of what we call "reality", actually a large weaving of perception, emotions, memories, experiences, knowledge and collective (viewing) habits. I like to experiment with the medium, explore the possibilities of how the photo as a material can determine the meaning and the feeling. So my work emerges from an autobiographical context in which my home region still plays an important role and includes themes like identity and the relationship to the environment. The series I work often grow like detective stories, whereby I am also using the written word, sound and video. Furthermore I am excited about photo books and their possibilities to influence story-telling. Last year I made my first “serious” photo bookcalled “Während wir schlafen, ziehen Wölfe um die Häuser” (While we sleep, wolves roam around the houses') and deals with the symbol of the returned wolf in the Eastern German countryside, how the symbol represents the land and also the people. There are different stories about places where wolves have been seen and about (fictional) relationships between people and wolves. Now I will go back to Germany and start studying Photography and Moving Image in Leipzig.

Photo: Nicole Zvaigzne

How has your internship at ISSP been? What made you decide to come to Riga?

It appealed to me that ISSP works in so many different areas related to photography. So I applied to ISSP – although I was actually looking for a publishing house, as I was very obsessed with bookmaking at the time. In addition, I had never been to the Baltic States before and wanted to get to know this region. In these three months I was involved in so many different things. I have assisted in workshops, done the photo documentation of events, supervised the gallery, helped out in the ISSP Shop, built and dismantled exhibitions. I've also been traveling through the country a lot with ISSP, so I was able to see so much without planning anything myself. It was particularly nice that I was able to take part in Iveta Gabaliņa´s last workshop at Līču skola. That was super inspiring. In general, there was also time for my own projects and I was able to browse through all the photo books in the gallery shop and in the ISSP library. Now I have a better sense of what it might look like to work in a team with photography, and I also realised again how important a structure like ISSP is for the local photography scene. What I particularly like about ISSP is that it involves and addresses very different groups of people. 

Can you tell us a little bit about the photos you’ve taken here in Latvia?

I took a few photos during my time here, especially when I was out of town. On the one hand, I simply captured situations that touched me: the first flight attempts of three stork siblings, the fatal accident of one of them, the "black eye" of my flatmate after her first ride on an electric scooter, heavy summer rain outside my window. On the other hand, I was also interested in exploring the relationship between land and identity. What is special about Latvia is, of course, that it consists mainly of nature. This in turn opens up more space for imagination. Latvian mythology and folklore fascinated me a lot, especially when it appeared in random little signs. I also became aware again of the magic and power of traditional songs and rituals and how they are able to connect us. But at the same time, I had to think a lot about the construction of identity and traditions in general – the assumption that identity is based on traditions and what dangers that holds, for instance when preserving cultural heritage is mistaken for imitating the past. We create belief in something so that it takes the pain away, but basically we are not able to avoid receiving and causing pain.

What is your general feeling about the Latvian photography scene?

I have the feeling that the Latvian photo scene is very active and creative, but that may of course also be due to my subjective perception, since I move in a kind of photography bubble here. I have also noticed that there is still a very strong involvement with analogue photography in this country. My feeling is that there are many photographers who still work very classically, but on the other hand there is a growing scene with more progressive and provocative visual language. Identity and the political background of the country is definitely an emotional topic here, so of course also in photography. Probably one more special thing about Latvia is that everything is very familiar. People know each other in the "scene" and when exhibitions etc. take place, they usually meet in Riga. I wish I had more time to explore the Latvian photography scene.

Read more about Maya's photobook “Während wir schlafen, ziehen Wölfe um die Häuser” at FK Magazine.

Santa France: “Esmu redzams šajā attēlā, un man tas nepatīk”

No 24. novembra līdz 7. martam ISSP Galerijā ir skatāma Santas Frances personālizstāde "Esmu redzams šajā attēlā, un man tas nepatīk". Izstāde tapusi sadarbībā ar organizāciju "Wunder Kombinat", un tas ir pirmais no izdevuma "WunderKombināts II. Latvijas mākslas gadagrāmata 2023" ievadošās programmas pasākumiem. Izstādes atklāšana notiks 23. novembrī plkst. 18.00. Laipni lūgti!

NEW! ISSP Merchandise collection

The long-awaited ISSP Merchandise collection is here! We are very excited to share something we’ve been working on for the past several months – a line of limited edition hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and tote bags! We are offering a special discount of 15% valid until 10 October! All items are available at the ISSP Gallery in Berga Bazārs (Riga) or online at the ISSP Shop.

FUTURES meeting in Budapest

This year, from 13 to 15 October, the FUTURES Photography platform's annual event was hosted by the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center in Budapest. Joining more than 100 artists, 23 curators, and heads of major international contemporary photography institutions were ISSP nominated artists Reinis Hofmanis, Zane Priede, and Jurģis Peters from Latvia, Cloe Jancis from Estonia, and Ieva Baltaduonytė from Lithuania, as well as curator Iveta Gabaliņa and Jūlija Berkoviča from ISSP. 

ENERGY: FUTURES exhibition in Budapest

The annual FUTURES event in 2023 is hosted by the Robert Capa Center for Contemporary Photography in Budapest. A new traveling exhibition prepared as a part of the platform’s activities will also have its first appearance in Budapest. This year, the theme of the group exhibition is “ENERGY 2023: Redistributing Power and Taming Consumption”.

Arnis Balčus: Scēna

Līdz 16. novembrim ISSP Galerijā ir skatāma Arņa Balčus izstāde “Scēna”, kas pievēršas šodienas jauniešu alternatīvajai subkultūrai. Izstādes ietvaros notiks arī panku bazārs, jauno panku dzejas vakars, ekskursijas izstādē ar sociologu Jāni Daugavieti un izstādes autoru Arni Balču, bet tuvāk izstādes noslēgumam iznāks grāmata “Scēna”.

Until 16 November, the ISSP Gallery is hosting Scene, an exhibition by Arnis Balčus focusing on today's alternative youth subculture. The exhibition will be accompanied by a Punk Bazaar, poetry evening by young punks, excursions with the sociologist Jānis Daugavietis and the exhibition’s author Arnis Balčus, and finalise with the launch of the book “Scene”.

Turpinās uzņemšana ISSP Jauniešu skolā

ISSP Jauniešu skola piedāvā jauniešiem radoši iepazīt fotogrāfiju un tās plašos izmantošanas veidus, kā arī apgūt attēlu veidošanas pamatprasmes. Nodarbības atsāksies 3. un 4. oktobrī. Vēl ir iespēja pieteikties!

Atvērta pieteikšanās intensīvajam kursam "Ievads fotogrāfijā"

Atvērta pieteikšanās ISSP Skolas intensīvajam divu mēnešu kursam “Ievads fotogrāfijā”, kas sāksies 5. oktobrī! Nodarbības vadīs pieredzējuši fotogrāfi un pasniedzēji Kristīne Krauze-Slucka un Ingus Bajārs. Pieteikšanās līdz 1. oktobrim.

ISSP Jauniešu skolas atvērto durvju diena

Trešdien, 20. septembrī, plkst. 16.00-19.00 aicinām uz ISSP Jauniešu skolas atvērto druvju dienu! Tā būs iespēja iepazīt ISSP Jauniešu skolas programmas saturu, izgatavot savu pinhole kameru un radoši darboties ar apgaismojumu, kā arī pieteikties programmai. ISSP Jauniešu skolas nodarbības atsāksies oktobrī un ilgs līdz jūnijam vienreiz nedēļā divās vecuma grupās: 11-14 g. un 15-18g. 

Open call - ISSP Agenda 2024 - Ritual

We invite image submissions for the inclusion in the ISSP yearly Agenda 2024! Our favorite daily companion will traditionally combine the functions of a weekly planner, a bullet journal and a notebook and will be released in November. Theme of the year - Ritual. The Agenda will feature 25 selected images selected via this open call. We are looking for strong single images layered in meaning, both black and white and color. 
Submit your images by 24 September here 

"Putnu disko" Baltajā naktī

Sestdien, 9. septembrī, no plkst. 18.30 līdz plkst. 23.00 mūsdienu kultūras foruma “Baltā nakts” ietvaros ISSP Galerijā notiks somu mākslinieku Pasi Autio un Saku Koistinena līdzdalības performance “Putnu disko”, kurā apmeklētāji aicināti nodoties dejām putnu dziesmu mūzikas pavadījumā. Pasākumā tiks integrētas latviešu ilustratores un animatores Viviannas Marias Staņislavskas veidotās vizualizācijas. Ieeja bez maksas.

Arnis Balčus: Scēna / Scene

No 15. septembra līdz 16. novembrim ISSP Galerijā būs skatāma Arņa Balčus izstāde “Scēna”, kas pievēršas šodienas jauniešu alternatīvajai subkultūrai. Izstādes atklāšana notiks 14. septembrī plkst. 18.00 ar trīs panku grupu – “ŠŅK”, “Defekts” un “Depustūtes” – koncertu.

From 15 September to 16 November, the ISSP Gallery will host the exhibition Scene by photographer Arnis Balčus. The exhibition focuses on today's youth alternative subculture. The exhibition will open on 14 September at 6 PM with a concert by three punk bands: ŠŅK, Defekts and Depustūtes.

Residency for Ukrainian Photographers

In cooperation with Sustainability foundation and Media Hub Riga, we are glad to invite applications for a fully funded residency for two photographers / photojournalists from Ukraine. During the time period November 2023 and January 2024, the residency will offer a possibility to take due time and space to implement an artistic project, work on a personal archive and to explore local photography and culture scene in Riga. Applications are welcome till 4 September 2023!