Latvijas Izpostīto Apgabalu Kongresa Padomes izdevums uzņemts u. izdots 1921 g.Council of Latvia's Devastated Regions' Congress Photo Album, 1921
- a smaller format album, presented here, contains 16 photographs;
- a larger format album contains 48 photographs;
- both feature (contact) prints 8½ x 13½ cm. in size.
"The 5th Congress of Latvia's Devastated Regions convened yesterday the city of Rīga's #2 High School. The Congress was opened by the president of the Devasted Regions Council Gailītis. In his opening speech, the president shed light on the condition in which Latvia finds itself. Much has been accomplished, but the wounds inflicted by war are not so quickly healed. Gailītis concluded his speech with "Dievs, svētī Latviju". Elected to the leadership of the Congress were Gailītis, Upmanis, Vītolis, Bariss, and former prime minister K. Ulmanis. Attending the opening of the Congress also were prime minister Celmiņš, agricultural minister Gailītis, land bank president N. Dzelzītis, and others. There were letters of salutation to the Congress from many organizations.
"After that, prime minister Celmiņš greeted the Congress: for 10 years, all productive work in Latvia had ceased; and now for 6 years already we have been working at renewing our devastated farms. Let us salute the phenomenon of those who have been devasted who—lacking all assistance—are still striving to renew their farms. Our government will reach out to them.
"At the conclusion of greetings there followed a review of the activities of 1924 by the Devastated Regions Congress Council. News from various regions was related after adoption of the review."While we still have many unanswered questions about the albums, the photographer is less of a mystery. As we read in Baiba Vanaga's The image of artists in 20th century Latvian photography of the 1920's and 1930's (our translation):
Mārtiņš Lapiņš (1873–1954), a self-taught photographer, opened his photography works in Rīga at No. 16. Pērnava street in 1906. In the 1920's and 1930's his photo studio was located at No. 2. Marijas street. After the Second World War, M. Lapiņš was employed at "Rīga's Photo."
Mārtiņš Lapiņš particpated in the founding of the LFB (Latvian Photographers' Society), was an active member, presented lectures at photography courses organized by the society, and participated in various exhibitions, both at home and abroad, achieving recognition for his work. M. Lapiņš "can be seen as the first photographer of theatrical life in Latvia" and he was "one of the few who at the start of the 1920's organized photographing a chronicle of film."
His primary sphere of photographical work was reportage of various events, landscapes, genres and portraits which mostrly portrayed actors, authors, musicians, and other cultural personalities.
M. Lapiņš most often photographed artists in a ¾ turn showing shoulders and upper torso, for the most part with their gaze to the side—into the distance. Models are seen in normal street clothes without superfluous accessories; usually with a conventional backdrop.
M. Lapiņš characerstic composition of formal portraits shows the model leaning sideways off the central vertical axis. Lighting is direct and most often falls from the side, illuminating the facial portrait in full. His photoraphical portraits are clear and crisp, detailed, and with precise countours.
M. Lapiņš photo-portraits have the photographer's mark embossed on one of the lower corners, also showing the photo studio's address, although sometimes the person's name is also written on the photograph as well.
We will continue to search for additional information on the albums and their intended audience. Their purpose, however, is clear: to document the ravages of war upon Latvia—Lapiņš' stark imagery delivers that message with a clarity undimmed by time.
We have restored the photographs to the best of our ability. Look also for the pre-war picture we've included from one of our other albums, of the «Hotel Segewold», before the ruins of war.
|||Estonia concluded its peace treaty with the Bolsheviks on February 2, 1920. Lithuania concluded its peace treaty with the Bolsheviks on July 12, 1920.|
|||The Library of Congress web site indicates a slightly larger size (9 x 14 cm.) than our measurements.|
|||Latvijas izpostitie apgabali, at the Library of Congress web site, retrieved August 4, 2011|
|||The Latvian Legionnaires, also known as Waffen SS units, were illegally conscripted by Nazi Germany to fight against the USSR on the Eatern front.|
|||Biographical information on individuals and organizations, retrieved August 6, 2011 at www.bigraphien.lv|
|||Anita Trušele, Bērnu sociālās problēmas un sociālās palīdzības veidošanās Latgalē 20. gs. 20. gados, at www.arhivi.lv, retrieved August 4, 2011|
|||March 15, 1925 issue of Latvijas Kareivis, retrieved August 5, 2011 at www.periodika.lv|
|||"God bless Latvia," also the title of the Latvian national anthem.|
|||Mākslinieka tēls 20. gs. 20.–30. gadu latviešu fotogrāfijā: Tipoloģiskais aspekts, Latvian Archive, retrieved August 5, 2011|
|||Korsaks, P. Redzamākie 20.gadsimta sâkuma latviešu fotogrāfi. Book: Zeile, P. (editor) Latvijas fotomāksla. Vēsture un mūsdienas. Rīga: Liesma, 1985. p. 72 (reference in original source)|
|||ibid. (reference in original source)|