i took these photos in the summer of 2019. unexpectedly alone in riga for a couple of days, i spent hours at the latvian ethnographic open air museum wading through the depths of history (or a version of it, perceived) through wooden structures, actors, crafts people, through forested grounds somewhere thirty minutes outside of the city by bus.
ever since i can remember i’ve taken so much pleasure from living history and open air museums. as children we are much more at ease stumbling our way through multiple planes of existence all at once, though i try to lean into this shift more as i stretch into the later half of my twenties.
magic, mundane, sensuous, sublime. in the past couple of years i have been sporadically working on a series of photos within living history communities. it would be untrue to say that this has been continuous as the last set of photos i made were in 2021. after a few unsuccessful grant applications to continue this project, it now sits on the backburner until i have the capacity to continue it. and anyway, i wouldn’t necessarily say that these photos are part of the series, just some cute recordings of my one day visit to this special place!
the man pictured here did not speak english and so we communicated through our hands and gestures. i nodded towards my camera and then back to him before he swiftly assumed this position. after which he presented a ring-bound folder of assembled newspaper clippings and ephemera collected over the course of a few decades of working at the museum. i sat on a tree stump with a blanket for a while beside his workshop going through it. before i left, he gifted me a postcard with an old photograph of the site on one side and on the, a crayon pencil drawing made from the spinning wheels he turned on the lathe. i taped this to the wall of my old bedroom in scotland but it’s just sitting in a box somewhere now, for whenever jack and i find a permanent place to live.