Somewhere on a Disappearing Path: Photo Essay by Iveta Vaivode

“Come, child! Let’s listen to the bees singing,” my aunt would say every evening before we went to bed. Her white hair always reminded me of dandelion heads, so beautiful and delicate you almost fear to touch them. I remember her singing songs about the natural world while working in the garden. She would also spend long hours with me talking about the family I never knew, but always considered myself a part of.

Looking at my parents’ family albums, I would imagine their lives before me. I constructed memories I didn’t have, playing them over and over again in my mind. I always felt that the people I saw in the albums differed from the people I saw next to me every day. Although connected with a particular history, these photographs triggered my imagination rather than giving me a specific knowledge.

For the last two years, I have documented people in the remote village of Pilcene in the eastern part of Latvia. My work addresses the idea of memory and “looking back” through the creation of my own narrative based on my family history. In Pilcene, I looked for the people who knew my grandmother. Through their stories I became very aware of their attachments to the land and their homes, as well as the importance of the natural world to their way of being.

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1 Comment

  • Thank you for the beautiful photo essay that brings this village to life in the intimacy of its day to day. The children playing under trees, the old people’s faces, the haystacks and white hair among the dandelions all moved me.

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