22.02.2012 Helsinki
Dear Emmi,

Haha, thanks for getting back to us! Time does fly, I will give you that. I was in Riga some time before Christmas and had my newest camera with me, the Lubitel. It's an amateur camera, a replica of on old Russian model.

It's a lot slower than Diana, meaning it takes a little longer to set it up for each picture and it's a little more accurate. I think I can shoot portraits of people with it, that have never worked so well with Diana. Diana sort of paints a picture, Lubitel is a lot more precise. Also I need to practise a lot with it, for example the double exposures are a lot harder, as you can see the second image is super faded on these ones. 

Riga is very beautiful. The Art Nouveau buildings are breath taking next to the rustic houses that look like no one could possibly live in them because they are just falling apart from every corner. But it's a very romantic decay, sort of regal almost. And surprisingly I actually think people are living in the houses that look empty as many of them have lights on at night and curtains. I really wish I could have gone in to one of them:)

The eastern block, Soviet Union and Russian culture is super fascinating to me and the aesthetics  of Riga have all the elements of that sort of little bit scary, regal,rich, rural and raw. It's really different to anything else and even though all the people we met were perfectly friendly, there is a sense of being permanently outsider to it all as well. Maybe it's only an illusion as there really aren't that many "popular"films, magazines or music from around there and it makes is a little stranger? Or something. And the whole Soviet era is so ridiculous and mysterious in a way. 

Cyrillic letters are by far the most amazing alphabet there is to me, and maybe the fact that I can't understand the writing at all also makes the culture feel more distant.

 I mean I can't read Chinese or Japanese or Hindi alphabet either but Cyrillics are RIGHT THERE. If I had to, I could walk to Moscow. (whatever, I totally could if I really had to) 
So perhaps that's why it feels even stranger. You've been to Riga. Do you know what I mean?  

Anyway. It was really lovely and we found some really beautiful places and buildings and found humour in a lot of things we saw. I'd recommend a weekend there to anyone! 

 I took a million pictures with Lubitel on my trip to Thailand, which I hope to post soon! 


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