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A Man of Strenci Photo Studio

Photography exhibition “A Man of Strenci Photo Studio” featuring works of the LPM archive collection will be exhibited from March 9 in Latvian Museum of Photography. The photographs of the exhibition show a man at work, at leisure, at home, in his local environment – a small city – Strenci. Photographers were very good at managing to capture and portray male characters and types, their attractiveness and openness. The exhibition shows men of the various social classes, they are representatives of different ages and professions.

There is a boy who sat on the bike for the first time, later he becomes a friend, workmate, father, grandfather. The aim of the project is to show the values of the museum's collection, which is usually stored in funds, and is not commonly available for visitors. There are almost 12 thousand glass plates and film negatives, which were taken from 1910 to 1950. Historical photographs give not only an idea of everyday life in earlier times, but also encourage reflection on changes in people's ways of life and the perception of the world over a longer period of time.

Strenci is a town on the bank of River Gauja. The oldest reference to it can be found on a map of Riga – Tērbata post roads, at the end of the 17th century. In 1909, the photographer Dāvis Spunde opened his photo studio there. In 1914, Jānis Krauklis was accepted by Spunde as an apprentice. Later, Konrāds Krauklis, a brother of Jānis was also accepted as an apprentice. In the middle of 1930s, D.Spunde sold K.Krauklis his studio, but Spunde continued to photograph on location, including – celebrations, community events, and capturing the everyday life of the citizens of Strenci. K.Krauklis continued to be a photographer until retirement. His sister Pauline was a photographer as well. After the death of Konrāds, his work was continued by his wife Elīze Alvīne Kraukle. It is possible that during the time while the studio existed, other photographers or their assistants were working there as well, but no information about them is currently available.

In 2004, Latvia's Photography Museum acquired a collection of 13 000 photo-plates from the photo studio of Strenči, with the support of the “Latio” real estate company. The collection spans the period from 1909 until the 1950's.