“Combining my photos and her diary is a way of getting to know my grandmother, and a way of re-living her past.”

We are what we read. And when we read about our inner invisible roots, everything makes sense. This is the beginning of a discovery journey for Anete Skuja, who one day found her grandmother’s hidden diaries, letters and personal objects from her life in America before World War II in some forgotten boxes and met her through these essential puzzle pieces and her own senses. Anete used pages from the red diary and linked them to her photos, this way building a connection and somehow re-living the past. The stories form a narrative and her photo-project bears a symbolic name: “Expectations” (Anete grandmother’s name - translation from Latvian language - Gaida).

Anete plays the role of the past visitor into her grandmother’s visible life, collecting information and entering a fictional reality – re-discovering herself in the space between her and her grandmother. The whole photo-project tells the story of a linear and non-linear time, blurring the border between them and inducing the following question: What if there were a different past, not the original past we know? And what if we were suddenly thrown into such a world? There would be, of course, a griping toward a new reality.

“Expectations” project rooted in a deeply personal need which we all identify ourselves with: to turn back time in a particular moment and place with those close to us. “The project is the opportunity to see her again and restore what has been lost”, says Anete Skuja.

What inspires you? What is the driving force behind your creation? How do you visualize your ideas?

Inspiration comes from all kinds of different sources, but I think it mainly comes from the world and events around me. The force behind my work definitely is therapy. I tend to use photography as a way to deal with my own thought or emotions, sometimes to work out some painful events. The idea always comes first - sometimes it could be driving in a crowded public transport - and second is the visual aspect.

Did you find the part of yourself you hoped to uncover? Are you changed by this work and/or by watching others interact with your art?

It’s difficult to answer. I see some changes through my pictures, for example in the series Gaidas aka Expectations I can clearly feel how I changed, the pictures in the beginning of the series were much more connected with reality, but time passes and my take on it, became more abstract, perhaps more emotional. I think I’m definitely changed in the process of making some ideas visual, every project or idea is somehow a little different, although i tend to use the same techniques. I don’t think that the interaction between a viewer and my art leaves changes. I would say that it just lets me understand that there are much more similar thinking people that I had expected. v

What are your future plans? What themes, materials or processes are you hoping to explore in your next projects?

Well there future plan changes a lot. I am working on a personal project about my siblings, but it’s still in progress and it would be interesting to know how it will look like in the end. More concrete - there is being planned 2 exhibitions which will include also my work.

Anete Skuja is a freelance photographer currently living and working in Riga, Latvia. Pinterest, Blog, Facebook