A guide to the New East

Silent witness: photographs from the Latvian edge

Share on LinkedIn Share via Email

Despite the stillness of its title, Katrina Kepule’s series Sit Silently is a journey: a voyage around the outskirts of Riga and the neighbouring towns, and a search for Latvia’s national identity in a rapidly changing world. The photographer’s main focus is the moments when contemporary Europe collides with different layers of the Latvian past (like the Soviet era or the National Awakening periods) — conflicting and complementing each other. Surreal and seemingly unrelated images create a fragmented emotional narrative, a visual map of the edge of Europe. “If one looks from the East”, writes Kepule, “Kengarags is on the periphery of Riga, Latgale [the region] is on the periphery of Latvia, and Latvia is on the periphery of Europe”. This peripheral feeling is one of the central points of the project and a key to its title: up on the periphery, sitting silently observing the world might be the best thing to do. “The title of the series is an abbreviation of a piece from so-called Google Poetics,” explains Kepule. “It consists of phrases that are popularly searched on the internet and are associated with the concept of sitting: "Sit silently/Sit silently doing nothing/We sit silently and watch the world/We sit silently and watch."

More from Photography

Fighting spirit

Remembering the boxing gym that gave Polish youth hope

Lola Paprocka

The Polish photographer getting to the heart of brutalist Belgrade

George Nebieridze

The Tbilisi native documenting the essence of youth in contemporary Berlin

Riga Photomonth

Explore post-truth and reality with our highlights from Latvia

Tanks and tulips

A vibrant look at Victory Day celebrations in Minsk

War on Instagram

Merging conflict and everyday life in Christopher Nunn's photos of Ukraine