First and foremost, I probably owe Riga a huge apology for photographing it in the way that I did. All the research I did about the Latvian capital, prior to visiting, told me about a city which had fought hard to shake off the memories of its Soviet past and reinvent itself as the lively, vibrant jewel in the Baltic crown, and the vast majority of the photos I saw on the conventional travel websites showed me the pretty colourful buildings and cobbled streets of the old town. All of which certainly holds true.
I therefore wasn’t prepared for the impression that Riga made on me when I arrived for the first time. Away from the old town and the tourist hotspots the streets told me a different story – of a grand city fallen foul of the Soviet occupation, much of which is still evident in the crumbling blocks, derelict buildings and the imposing communism-era tower which casts a grim shadow across the skyline on the east side of the river. It got under my skin in a way that I hadn’t expected and couldn’t avoid, so I set out to try to capture the feeling in the photos. Hopefully you will find them interesting….but please don’t base your impressions of Riga solely on these photos!
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