The Place Where I Am Not
"The Place Where I Am Not is a personal documentary project exploring the dramatic changes that took place in my home country, Latvia, over the past three years.
After joining the EU in 2004, Latvia had the fastest growing economy in Europe. However, heavily hit by recession in 2008, the country now is only leading the charge with one of the highest rates of unemployment in the area. The shift left a dramatic imprint on every sphere of life, with major institutions facing closure, hospitals and schools undergoing fundamental restructurings, thousands of people are left with no steady source of income and no certainty for what the following day may bring.
My work is a document of different responses to the situation Latvians found themselves in. On a more personal level, I explore the issues of migration and cultural identity, challenging the notion of the word “home“. Telling the story from perspective of a young European who left the country of her origins in search for a better life overseas, I am not fully an outsider, nor insider. Instead of documenting the town that used to be my home, I capture the experience of returning to the place where I no longer am."
The last three years in Latvian history have been very dynamic, yet we have witnessed very little visual evidence to all these whirlwinding events in terms of photographic projects. Tina Remiz (1988) is one of the few young Latvian photographers, who is interested in the problems of common people, and her series The Place Where I am Not gives an overview on the current mundane reality in Latvia.
National identity can be an obstructive luggage in a multicultural metropole. Latvians love discussing their collective national identity and its preservation; however, sometimes these talks have very little in common with the actual reality.
Remiz makes everyday objects, banal details and ordinary people significant, as opposed to presenting an „official“ idealised national image. Keeping a distance sometimes is the best way to understand, who we are and the project carried out by Remiz is a proof of that.
Text by Arnis Balcus, Chief Editor of FK Magazine in Latvia
Tina Remiz (b.1988) is a Latvian-born documentary storyteller and visual artist. She is a current final year student on BA Photographic Arts course at Westminster University, combining studies with her work as a freelance photographer and journalist.
A lot of Remiz’s work is concerned with the issues of migration and cultural identity, as she reflects on her personal experience of growing up in the post-Soviet Latvia and immigrating to the West in her late teens.
Both her visual and written work was published and exhibited nationally and internationally. In 2011, The Place Where I am Not project received the first prize in Document 2011: The War on Want Photographic Award and was exhibited as a part of Summershow in Foto8 gallery.
The featured photographer for March 2012 was Tina Remiz