The Bigger Picture

The Latvian photographer Inta Ruka is famous for her portrait photography. She has portrayed fellow human beings in their daily lives throughout her career, with great honesty and curiosity. The background to her intimate imagery are long conversations she has beforehand with her subjects, helping her to convey “the whole picture.” She also complements her photographs with texts; anecdotes, comments, stories from their calls. That way she pushes the idea of the limits of the photograph and what can be included in a photographic work. The text helps to capture the whole picture of the people she meets and portrays. Following Inta Ruka’s exhibition ‘You and Me’ at the Stockholm-based Fotografiska, which took place from the 5th of October until the 8th of December 2013, and in her honor, the book The Bigger Picture: A Photo Book Without Pictures was published. A highly fascinating publication carrying just Inta Ruka texts written for her photographs, without the actual images. The ambition behind this fascinating project is to challenge the reader with the question what the intrinsic qualities of photography are.

Inta Ruka was born in Riga in 1958 and after high school graduated as a seamstress. Through her graduation gift, a camera, her life as a photographer started. Ruka received a scholarship from the Hasselblad Foundation in 1998, the Spidola Award of the Latvian Culture Foundation in 1999 and a scholarship from the Villa Waldberta in Feldafing in 2002. One year later, the Artist’s Union of Latvia awarded her the “Prize of the Year 2003.” She is known for the honesty in her works. For over thirty years, Inta Ruka curiously portrayed her countrymen. With a series of exhibitions around the world, she is today Latvia’s most internationally acclaimed photographer and she counts as one of the foremost contemporary portrait photographers. The exhibition ‘You and Me’ at Fotografiska consisted of more than 50 works and the documentary made by her close friend Maud Nycander.

We love the beautiful work of Inta Ruka and are inspired by this conceptual publication questioning, and in our eyes empowering, the strength of photography.

For more information on the work of Inta Ruka see here.