Photo from the Strenči Photographic Studio's glass plate collection

Until June 23, the Riga Photography Biennial (RPB) 2024 outdoor exhibition The Apparent — Un/believable, created in collaboration with the Latvian Museum of Photography, will be on display at public transport stops in Riga. The thematic selection of the collection focuses on the experiments of photographers from the first half of the 20th century who created illusory depictions.

Stories Editorial June 11, 2024

Visual perception is a complex system involving vision as well as the mind and memory processes, and today it has become an important field of research in relation to the medium of photography. With the development of photographic technologies, the culture of seeing has also changed, yet the photographic image’s aura of trustworthiness, or its documentary nature, still survives in the era of Photoshop, smartphones, and the internet. The capacity of new technologies to manipulate and generate images serves as a motivation to revisit and re-evaluate the legacy of analogue photography, since present-day confusion regarding the dominance of visual fakes is part of a debate that has been around since the inception of the photographic image in the mid-19th century. Thus, the photographic image is associated with scientific objectivity, based on the fact that it uses mechanical methods to acquire a record of reality, or a «copy of nature». This rhetoric has not been erased from the thinking of contemporary society and exists alongside synthetic imagery generated using systems of artificial intelligence.

The Latvian Museum of Photography presents a look at a thematic selection from its collection The Apparent — Un/believable, showing experiments by photographers from the first half of the 20th century who created illusory representations. The works of the selected artists represent a variety of techniques: retouching, hand-colouring, montage, and others , as well as experiments with the angle of the shot, or perspective, where the photographic depiction of the object on the plane is deformed.


The exhibition The Apparent — Un/believable will be on display at public transport stops and billboards in Riga until June 23. A map of the exhibition is available here. Curator: Baiba Tetere. More information about the exhibition is available on the Riga Photography Biennial website.