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The newly published photo book Gleizds’ Method by Latvian photography legend Jānis Gleizds has been shortlisted among the world’s 20 best historical photo books in the prestigious photo book competition of the Rencontres d’Arles 2024 photo festival. The photo book offers an intriguing portrait of the artist, showcasing his mastery of photography techniques while honoring his inner resilience in overcoming physical limitations.

Stories Editorial June 17, 2024

Jānis Gleizds was the official photographer of the Traumatology and Orthopaedics Institute of Soviet Latvia and a distinguished figure in Photo Club Rīga, crafted skillfully constructed images using a unique «invasive» approach. Documented through proof prints, retouched double positives, and collaged negatives, his process reflects the meticulous nature of his work, shaped by his professional experiences.

After suffering frostbite at the age of 24, photographer Jānis Gleizds lost both of his hands. This life-changing event brought him to Riga, where he underwent a series of surgeries, learned to use specially designed tools, became a photographer, and, dedicating his free time to creative photography, mastered sophisticated photographic processes. Jānis Gleizds’ most creative period unfolded in the 1960s and 1970s in Riga, a time marked by societal changes amidst the conservative backdrop of the USSR. «While the European mass culture icon Brigitte Bardot was singing «Naked in the sun. Completely», the enchanting nymphs of the Photo Club Rīga were «becoming one with nature» in meadows, swamps, or snow, challenging Soviet ideology,» notes the editor of Gleizds’ Method, Anna Volkova. In the photo club, only black and white photography was considered art; hence, Jānis Gleizds’ colour photos did not get displayed in exhibitions. Nonetheless, the photographer continued to experiment with colour, playing with light-diffusing prisms and lenses. This publication offers an opportunity to explore the artist’s legacy through some of his colour slides, the photographer’s sketches, and proof copies of his work.

The recently published book has already gained international recognition. Every year, an international photography festival Rencontres d’Arles celebrates excellence in photography. Alongside the exhibitions, the festival also hosts a photography book competition, which rewards the best photography publications in three different categories: author books, historical books, and photo-text books. The Gleizda Method has been nominated among the 50 best historical photo books. The winner of the category will be announced in the first week of July, when the festival starts.


The book Gleizds’ Method is published with texts in Latvian, Latgalian, and English. The book is edited by Anna Volkova. Editor and author of the descriptions of Janis Gleizds’ techniques — Vladimirs Svetlovs. Author of the essay — Liāna Ivete Žilde. Designer — Toms Mrazauskas. Publisher — Talka (Orbīta) in cooperation with Latgale Photographers’ Association. The publication of the book is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation. The publication is available on