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Inta Ruka

For over three decades, Latvian photographer Inta Ruka has portrayed her fellow countrymen with honesty and warmth. Now fifty of them are shown in the exhibition You & Me at Fotografiska in Stockholm.

For over thirty years, Inta Ruka has portrayed her fellow countrymen in Latvia. In her works she portrays workers, elders, married couples, children – ordinary people – photographed in their own environments, honestly and genuinely.

In the newly opened exhibition You & Me at Fotografiska in Stockholm, more than fifty of her pictures are shown together with two documentaries; Fotografen från Riga and Road’s End, made by her close friend Maud Nyclander.

29221-6      jpg        Kuzma Judins 1984
Inta Ruka – Kuzma Judins, 1984.

“When I met Kuzma he could no longer see. He knew he would never see the photos. But he said to me, “Daughter, if you need me, just tell me where and I will sit there.”

Kuzma has brothers. During the war they fought on opposite sides.”

Inta Ruka, from You & Me.

Accompanying some of the pictures in the exhibition are short stories that the photographer has written about the people portrayed. While talking the pictures, Inta Ruka always takes time to talk to the models and get to know them on a personal level. In the photographs the persons portrayed always look calm, relaxed, and undisturbed by the photographers presence.

Inta Ruka was born in Riga in 1958. Her father died when she was ten, and she grew up with her mother in a small apartment. At the age of fifteen she was trained to be a seamstress, and upon graduating she received a camera from her mother, initiating her interest in photography. After work, she spent her spare time taking photographs, engaging in a photo club where she gained greater understanding of the art of photography.

She had her breakthrough as a photographer in 1999, when representing Latvia at the 48th Venice Biennale. She has never worked with commercial photography – only with her own projects. Even though she is considered one of Europe’s most important photographers, she still works part time as a cleaner at the Swedish Embassy in Riga.

The exhibition You & Me will be on view at Fotografiska in Stockholm until December 8. 

Photos of the artist by Aron Pelcman.