Ghosts

Abandoned buildings and complexes including factories, fall-out shelters, communication bunkers and former intercontinental ballistic missile launch facilities in the territory of Latvia. I like to feel the quiet aura of those witnesses of the history and to see the unusual beauty of places.

After seeing these places one can gain a little bit more notion of the recent past. These used to be facilities that were secret and important, places that could destroy whole cities thousands of kilometers away or – on the contrary – save peoples’ lives. Nowadays almost all of them are ghosts of political systems and conflicts from the past. The buildings are halfway torn down, looted by metal thieves, but the signs on the walls, instructions for staff and sometimes even old documentation still remains. These ghosts are frightening, sometimes amusing, but mostly we pass them by and do not even notice them on the way to our job.

On one hand the time has stopped there almost like some kind of a time-capsule, but on the other hand everything there can change very fast. Some of those places that can be seen in the photographs don’t exist anymore. For example, the bunker in Kadaga (which used to be Soviet Union’s command post of the Baltic Military District), most of cold war ballistic missile launch facilities and many factories. I wanted to see how process of decay creates elements, compositions, colors and how light acts in these very dynamic surroundings.

Exhibition was showcased in: Rīga – Latvian Museum of Photography (2014), Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre (2015), Talsi – Talsu Tautas nams (2015), Kokmuiža Manor Complex (2015), Ogre (2015), Līvāni – Mūsdienu mākslas galerija (2016).

Pictures taken in 2009 – 2014.

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Entrance to a flooded bomb shelter in Riga, latvia. 2013.

Exploded powder magazine of Liepāja naval fortress, built in the end of 19th, beggining of 20th centuries by Russian Empire. Liepāja, Latvia, 2012.

Communication corridor of an underground (R12, Dvina) nuclear ballistic missile launch control centre. Built by Soviet Union during Cold War. 2012. Eleja, Latvia. Most of the site nowadays is dismanteled.

Entrance to abandoned soviet military bunker in forest in Kadaga (near Riga), Latvia. 2010.

Generator room of Baltic Military District hedquarters bunker in Kadaga, Latvia. 2012. Finally dismantled in 2014.

Former Riga Radio Factory, Riga, Latvia. 2013.

Chemical fiber factory in Daugavpils. Latvia. 2011. In 2018 decison was made to tear down this partially abandoned and dangerous structure.

Cold War time ballistic R-12 missile launch silo in nuclear ballistic missile underground control centre, Eleja, Latvia. 2012. Passage around upper part of the underground silo that went 30 metres deep. Deep enough to hide entire R-12 rocket with its nuclear warhead. The same type of rockets caused Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Former “Monkey House” in Riga Zoo, Riga, Latvia, 2012. Building was being prepared for tearing down and replacing by a new one.

Cold War time fuel (or oxidiser?) room in soviet underground ballistic R-12 missile launch centre, Eleja, Latvia. 2012.

Casemates in the 19th century citadel of Daugavpils Fortress with decaying soviet documentation board. Daugavpils, Latvia, 2013.

Cold War time hangar for keeping two ballistic R-12 missiles (22m long) in abandoned soviet ballistic missile launch facility. Tervete, Latvia, 2009.

Abandoned kolkhoz silo in Liksna, Latvia. 2010.

Generator room of soviet communication bunker near Riga, Latvia, 2013.

Former Riga Radio Factory. Rīga, Latvia, 2013.

Former chemical fiber factory in Daugavpils, Latvia, 2011. In 2018 decison was made to tear down this partially abandoned and dangerous structure.

Former chemical fiber factory in Daugavpils, Latvia, 2011. In 2018 decison was made to tear down this partially abandoned and dangerous structure.

Baltic Military District hedquarters bunker (2nd underground floor). Kadaga, Latvia, 2012. Completely dismantled in 2014.

Daugavpils Fortress. Abandoned classroom of former Daugavpils Military School
of aviation engineers. Latvia, 2013.

Communication tunnel under blocks of former Riga Radio Factory. Riga, Latvia, 2013.

Ice stalagmites in casemates of Daugavpils Fortress citadel. Daugavpils, Latvia, 2011.

Inner yard of KGB building in Riga, Latvia, 2011.

Military bunker “Iskra 535”. Sigulda, Latvia, 2013.

Flooded underground (R12, Dvina) nuclear ballistic missile launch control centre. Built by Soviet Union during Cold War. 2009. Near Misa, Latvia. Nowadays site is completely dismanteled.

Daugavpils Fortress. Flooded casemates of Warsaw fortifications. Daugavpils, Latvia, 2012.

Daugavpils Fortress. Abandoned classroom of former soviet military aviation engineer highschool. Daugavpils, Latvia, 2013.

Baltic Military District hedquarters underground bunker in Kadaga, Latvia. 2012. Dismantling completed in 2014.