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The photography support project by „Latio” – establishment of the Annual Photography Award of LatviaClient: SIA „Latio”Agency: „P.R.A.E. Sabiedriskās attiecības”Term: year 2006 (in general the project has been started in 2004)Description of the situationTo continue the photography support project started by „Latio” in 2004 andsuccessfully developed in close relationship with the Ministry of Culture, thePhotography Museum of Latvia, famous and respected photographers and leaders oftheir professional organizations, etc. at the beginning of 2006 it was decided toestablish the contest of the Annual Photography Award of Latvia.Until then there have been only separate, narrow-scale contests for photographers inLatvia, photography hasn’t been honoured within broader visual arts awards thus it’sbeen left to its own for quite a long time. In addition, there are several more or lessformal professional organizations which often can’t come to a consensus aboutgeneral goals and activities in this field, therefore such a large-scale event couldn’tbe organized from the inside.ResearchThe main directions of the research before establishment of the Annual PhotographyAward of Latvia: - gathering opinions and professional advice from the photographers’ and visual arts experts’ side; - research on foreign photography awards’ rules and organization (e.g., Spanish Award of Light, etc.); - compiling a data base on the Latvian photographers; - evaluating and consolidating previous experience obtained during the „Latio” photography support project.Goals 1) Establishing a new tradition – annual large-scale contest for the Latvian photographers within which their contribution in the visual arts field would be honoured for the first time in Latvia and in long-term it would also stimulate further development of the photography; 2) Introducing wider society to the tendencies of the modern Latvian photography; 3) Strengthening the socially responsible image of the „Latio” by emphasizing that it focuses on a definite field for a longer period of time and helps it to develop and consolidate forces weakened in mutual contradictions.
Target groups: - opinion leaders, including culture and arts fields; - photographers and leaders of their professional organizations; - mass media – general content news media and culture media; - the existing and potential clients and partners of the „Latio”; - society in general.Communication channelsDuring the project information on its activities and results has been distributedthrough: - general content news media – Diena, Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze, Latvijas Avīze, Čas, Telegraf, Vestji Segod a, Latvijas Radio, Latvijas Televīzija, LNT, etc.; - culture media – Fotokvartāls, Studija, Kultūras Forums, Kultūras Diena, Kultūras rondo, 100 grami kultūras, etc.; - Latvian photographers – both professionals and amateurs; - general society had an opportunity to get acquainted with the contest and entries through the exhibitions of the finalists and the foreign jury members as well as through the „Latio” website www.latio.lv.Activities implementedTo promote the publicity of the project and awareness of the experts about theestablishment of the contest and its progress, a range of promotion activities tookplace during 2006: 1) a press conference where the State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture Daniels Pav uts and the chairman of board of „Latio” Edgars Šīns announced the establishment of the Award and the opportunity to apply for it; 2) regular individual communication with the photographers and mass media about the progress of the contest, the range of entries and jury meeting; 3) to attract wider attention to the Award and to ensure that its results are as unbiased as possible, two foreign jury members had been invited – the curator of the legendary photographer Helmut Newton’s foundation, Matthias Harder and the son of the scandalous Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani – Rocco, he’s also a photographer himself. During their visit to Riga the opening of the modern European photographers’ exhibition (brought by M. Harder) and the presentation of the O. Toscani studio works (including the scandalous United Colors of Benetton advertising photos) took place; 4) voting for the public’s award was announced on September – it took place on the website of the “Latio” and gave an opportunity to the society to participate in evaluation process and express their opinion on the entries; 5) at the beginning of October the exhibition of the finalists’ photographs has been opened in the Riga Latvian Society hall, but at the end of the month the awarding ceremony took place. The Minister of culture Helēna Demakova, art
historians Laima Slava and Alise Tīfentāle, the respected photographers Gunārs Binde, Gunārs Janaitis, etc. participated in this ceremony; 6) during 2006 other “Latio” photography support project’s activities were implemented as well – including publishing the traditional black-and-white photo calendar and continuing research on the history of Latvian photography (in cooperation with the Photography Museum).Results 1. Successfully organized first Annual Photography Award of Latvia which generated surprisingly high activity from the professionals’ side; 2. at the end of the year the photographers started to get interested when and where they will be able to apply for the next year’s Award – this indicates that the professionals perceive this contest very seriously and responsibly; 3. the project is in the agenda of the society, especially culture and arts professionals – this is indicated by the experts’ phone survey results as well as high interest from the media side who perceive the “Latio” photo project as a long-term stable tradition within Latvian culture life and are willing to cover its up-to-date issues; 4. quantitative results – a. during 2006 there have been 189 articles on “Latio” photo project published in print and online media, including 101 article in press and 88 in news agencies and internet portals, b. regular radio and TV spots in national broadcast stations – Latvijas Televīzija, LNT, Latvijas Radio, etc., c. up to 300 entries and about 1,500 photos in different awarding categories, d. the closed events visited by more than 500 experts, opinion leaders, photographers.As the project is continued in 2007, the progress of the contest has been evaluatedand the rules and some others aspects improved after consultations with the experts.Insight into the Annual Photography Award of Latvia