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Arnis Balcus - Myself, Friends, Lovers and Others

Intimate portrait of the generation before social networks

Arnis Balcus - Myself, Friends, Lovers and Others

Intimate portrait of the generation before social networks

€2Delimiter599
Pledged OfPledged Of Goal
49
Backers
29Days Time To Go

All Or Nothing This Project Will Only Be Funded

About

Arnis Balcus. Hamburg, 2000

"Myself, Friends, Lovers and Others" is a photographic series by Latvian photographer Arnis Balcus. Most images were taken between 2000 and 2004, shot on Olympus Mju II film camera.

If the goal is reached, dienacht Publishing will publish the book by February 2020. The book will be printed at Jelgavas tipogrāfija in Latvia, using high quality design papers Curious Skin Ivory and Keaycolor Biscuit.

  • Arnis Balcus - Myself, Friends, Lovers and Others
  • 109 color photographs, 15x20cm, 160 pages, open spine with soft cover, offset printing, edition of 500
  • Designed by Calin Kruse, published by dienacht Publishing 
Working on the edit

Why to publish a book after all these years? 

"Well, somehow it still feels exciting and bizzare," says the photographer. "It's simple, mundane, private, a mixture of real and imaginary world that I was living in, but now, fifteen years later, I am looking at these images and I feel it has become something bigger than just a personal diary. It's kind of a portrait of the whole generation, probably the last one before social networks and over-conscious self-representation, when people were much less aware on how they should look on pictures. It's intimate and revealing but not grotesque. It's also sexy, but without abusive objectification."

Book cover
Book spread
Book spread
Book spread
Book spead
Book spread
Book spread
Book spread

The photographs in the book were mostly taken in Latvia, as well as Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Lithuania, where the artist regurarly travelled or stayed in artist residencies. "After a group exhibition [Ars Baltica photo triennale] in Germany I was offered a residency in Wiepersdorf in July/August of 2000. It is a small village next to Jüterbog, some 80 km south of Berlin. There was not even a shop, nothing, just an old mansion where artists and writers were staying on full board. I was too young and had no idea what to do with this opportunity. I was dying of boredom there and started to fool around with my snapshot camera a lot. And I was escaping to Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg. Back then I loved big cities and could not appreciate country side. First images were self-portraits and still lifes. This is where the idea of the series originated," recalls Arnis.

Arnis Balcus. Dana in kitchen, Riga, 2002
Arnis Balcus. Self-portrait with Anda, Riga, 2002
Arnis Balcus. Guys kissing, Riga, 2002

The series was first exhibited in Siauliai in Lithuania (2002), later in Berlin (2003), Copenhagen (2003), Vienna (2004), Riga (2004), London (2005) and elsewhere, as well as published in various magazines, for instance, The New Yorker and Die Achtung Mode. "When I was having first solo shows I was taping images straight to the wall. I remember that some people found it odd. Now it's a norm." In 2003 he was having a solo show at Giedre Bartelt Galerie (now closed) in Charlottenburg and exhibited around 50 photographs. "Latvia was about to enter the European Union and people were quite interested to see what is going on there, how the young people look like. I remember that at the opening of the show some people were a bit disappointed to find that Latvian youth is not that different from youth in Germany." 

Arnis Balcus. Nicola and Pers, Riga, 2001

"In the series there are quite a few images of gay men. And they are here just like everyone else rather than being revealed in the context of gay community. They have always been well integrated in my work. But strangely that visual art works about or around gay people are still a rarity in Latvia up to this date." 

Being one of the first projects of its kind in Eastern Europe, it paints an intimate portrait of the first post-soviet generation and their everyday life around the Millennium. "I guess it's just a coincidence that the project ended when Latvia joined the EU in 2004. In that year I moved to London to study and suddenly my life changed - I broke up with my girlfriend, disconnected from people in Latvia and started to do a bit different photography. While working on the edit of the book I have browsed through tons of images. There is a strange feeling about time and connection. It's like finding your old diary when some words trigger memories, but some makes you think it's about someone else. It feels vintage but at the same time relevant and courageous. I feel this work is worth being re-discovered and preserved."

Rewards

Our backers who have chosen postcards as a reward will get these two original postcards that were printed back in 2003:

Postcards from 2003
Postcards from 2003 (back side)

Our backers who have selected a limited edition print as a reward will get this photograph - inkjet print on archival paper. The size of the image 30x45cm including white border. The edition of only 5 images is available, all signed and numbered.

Arnis Balcus. Katrina, Riga, 2004. This is the limited edition print that will get our backers

Framed print "Self-portrait with Anda, Riga, 2002" is one of the iconic images in the series, it has been used on invitation cards, posters and catalogues. One backer has a chance to get a proper exhibition print, fully mounted & framed. Due to size, we will be able to ship only to Latvia and the EU.

Framed photograph 50x75 cm, wooden frame with museum glass

Small and Large prints are from different series - "Beyond the Blue River" and "Latvian Notes", all have been exhibited in museums and galleries in Europe. We believe those will sit well on any wall. Only one photograph from each edition is available.

Untitled (fog), 2014 & Riga, 2014

If you have selected a photoshoot as a reward, please keep in mind that it should take place in Latvia. The style of the shoot is negotiable and it would take about 1,5 hrs. You will get a special treatment from the photographer and he would try his best to make some great pictures. After the shoot within 2 weeks time the backer will be provided with at least 5 hi-res retouched digital files for personal use.

Arnis Balcus. Alina fighting, Siauliai, 2002
Arnis Balcus. Guys in bed, Copenhagen, 2003
Arnis Balcus. Vienna, 2002
Arnis Balcus. Ieva in my room, Riga, 2002
Arnis Balcus. Riga, 2002
Arnis Balcus. Untitled, Bonn, 2003
Arnis Balcus. Anda crying, Riga, 2004

About the author

Arnis Balcus (1978) is a Latvian photographer who has BA in Communication Studies from University of  Latvia (2002) and MA in Photographic Studies from University of Westminster (2005). "Myself, Friends,  Lovers And Others” were his first major work that provided him international recognition. However, in the past decade he has been studying Latvia’s identity while documenting Latvia’s current  history (the series “Latvian Notes”) and focusing on controversial  topics such as Soviet heritage, Latvian-Russian relations and nationalism (“Tukums News”, “Amnesia”, “Victory Park”, “Beyond The Blue  River”). He has had personal exhibitions in London, Riga, Glasgow,  Bratislava, Berlin, Malmo, etc., but in 2017 his photo book  “Victory Park” (2016) won gold award in the “AdAwards”  competition in the “PrintAward” category. Balcus is also the chief editor of FK Magazine and director of the festival Riga Photomonth.

About dienacht Publishing

dienacht (which means "the night") started as a magazine for photography, design and subculture, and developed into a publishing house. We want to showcase carefully selected photographers through a limited circulation of unique and highly collectible books – from smaller, handmade print runs to beautifully produced photobooks in a higher edition. 

Support and share

This campaign is a pre-sale of the book that will cover the production costs of the book and shipping. We would really appreciate you sharing this campaign with your friends, lovers and others!

Recent press

Bird in Flight (in Russian)

Satori.lv (in Latvian)

FK Magazine (in Latvian)

Risks and challenges

We do not foresee many risks with this project. The publisher dienacht Publishing has many years of experience in making photobooks from A to Z, and so far has published more than 30 titles. Arnis Balcus also has an extensive experience as a project manager - curating shows, book projects, managing a festival and magazine.

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    Thank you!

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    Two original postcards

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