Location: United Kingdom
Elina Bitere was born in Riga, Latvia in 1981, when Latvia was still part of the Soviet Union. Elina identifies more strongly with Russia, as that is where her father is from and as a child her family travelled to Russia regularly. Elina’s family background is a strong influence on her work.
This has left Elina with a lasting memory of a white childhood where there are white table cloths and piles of white snow. These memories are mixed with memories of the impact of Soviet rule.
As a child, Elina was constantly drawing and was not concerned about the politics around her, yet the conflicting emotions created by these childhood memories have become integral to her work. As an adult Elina now feels that her ‘heartland’ is split between four countries, and that these contrasting cultures and politics are influential on her work.
Self-portrait with silver cross, February 2013, London
This photograph captures a moment from a performance exploring the mysteries of human emotion.
The photograph was taken in a dark studio with one dim light, against a backdrop of distressed dark green and black painted polystyrene. During the performance, Elina moves her head rapidly from side to side, using a cable release to take the image. Her face is hidden by her long hair as it swings back and forth.
1/20 second shutter speed, f/4.8 and ISO200 printed onto matt photographic paper mounted in a traditional wooden frame.