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10 Questions: Arnis Balcus

Arnis Balcus is one of the most controversial, and easily one of the most famous contemporary Latvian art photographers. He shocked and intrigued the Latvian art world in 2003 with his book Myself, Friends, Lovers and Others, with extremely provocative, but honest, documentary style photographs of young Latvians engaging in straight and gay sex, abusing substances, and living carefree.

Since, Balcus has gained greater recognition with his books, Episodes Vol. 1 (2006) and Episodes Vol. 2 (2007). The photographs in these books are extremely seductive, staged stories of foxy outlaws with guns. Although the initial appeal of the Episodes books may be that black and white photographs of naked women with weapons is totally hot, there is an equally important political and social commentary in the work provoking the brain to take second look, and think. Get a better understanding of Balcus' Episodes books, related short films set to groovy lounge music, and his various other projects by going to his website: www.arnisbalcus.co.uk. Balcus has been living in London where he earned his masters in photography at the University of Westminster, but he is back in Riga, working and hitting the scene. Now, talk to me Balcus…

1. What's your sign?

2. If you were a superhero, what would be your super-talent?
Time traveling

3. What is your favorite place to go for a good time in Riga?
It used to be I Love You Bar before they banned smoking. Now, it is probably Metakafe as that is where most of my friends go.

4. What is your favorite day of the week and why?
Wednesday, because it has a little something from all of the other days.

5. What is your favorite food?
Currently it's home made chicken curry.

6. If you were a fly, where would you go, and who would youwatch?
I would watch other people from a spot that no human can access.

7. What would you do if you weren't a photographer?
Perhaps I would be a writer, politician, football player or a hairdresser. I can do, and have done, a lot of other things in my life besides photography.

8. What is one thing you would like to change in the historybooks?
The perception in history that Latvia is a country of trauma.

9. If you were sent to a desert island and you could only bringthree things, what would they be?
An airplane, petrol and a guide book on how to flight an airplane. I don't know why someone would want to live on a desert island. I would just get bored after a couple of days.

10. What is your favorite part about summer?
All of the beautiful, barely dressed girls in public. It's also so frustratingat the same time!