Here’s the first batch of 20+ rolls I shot in Riga and Vienna. I’m posting this in stages, so it won’t get too long. Luckily this time the company didn’t put me in the crew hotel in the Old Town (which is pretty, but full of tourists), but further up in a neighborhood where the locals live. This way I got to shoot almost a little bit every day, on the way to the set and back to the apartment. I also took a few pictures whenever I had a bit of free time on set.

Tri-X at boxspeed and pushed to 800, developed in Xtol 1+1.

Rollei Retro 100, developed in Rodinal 1+50.


 I finally figured out how to get film hand-checked. The trick is to take a lot of rolls, at least 20, I had around 30. I had the impression that the more you have, the more you’ll be taken seriously. I once tried getting 5 rolls hand-checked, it didn’t work. With a bag of 30 rolls there were no discussions. Take at least 2 rolls of ISO 3200 film (I had Delta). The argument I hear from airport security most often is that x-rays don’t damage film up to ISO 1600 (which is not true) and that it’s safe to put them through the machine. Thus the Deltas. Put them all in a zip lock bag. The films should fit tightly into the bag, otherwise they might  fish out the ISO 3200 rolls easily and only hand-check those. Get to the security check with enough time, it may take a while until they find somebody who can do the test. Be patient and ask politely. This worked for me in Berlin Tegel (did a powder test in a seperate room), Riga (inspected each roll by hand) and Vienna (waved me through without checking), but in might be different outside of continental Europe.







Everybody gasped a little at the sight of the small propeller machine.


She studied piano sheets.


Seen from the bus shuttle


Jurgis picked me up from the airport


Went straight to the set. Empty. Oh right, lunch time.


Latvian light technicians


Seen from inside of the former US embassy (we used it as set).


In the production office. Karina, the office manager, scribbled down for me how to buy a tram ticket in Latvian.


Downtown Riga



The company put me and the guys of the art department in an apartment in the North Town. This is the view into the backyard.


Morning light


Right around the corner of our apartment we found this fantastic coffee place. It’s called Maize.


Evening light. The sun doesn’t set until 11pm in summer, perfect for taking pictures after work.


Oh hi!


This construction site hasn’t changed a bit since last year.


Which of them works better?



Loved how the light bounced off of windows and building facades in Riga





Again, don’t know which one works better






Tamara, Latvian actress


Berry and Baiba, production coordinators


Luca runs Maize, amazing coffee place.


 When Tiff and I entered the restaurant, this guy snapped a picture of us, without asking btw. I was suprised, but of course I had to take one of him too. Found out later that he’s German…



Sinja, German actress


Agnes, Set PA


Latvian Make-Up artist


Thomas Thieme, German actor


You might know him from the film Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others)




Alus = beer. One of the few Latvian words I learnt.


View out of my room


After waking up


Wrong settings, should have stopped down way more




Liked this place a lot, it’s called Apsara Teahouse. You order your tea downstairs, and upstairs you take your shoes off and sit/lie on mattresses and look out the huge windows.





Half of the population in Riga is Russian


Martin, Latvian actor


Berry and the art of stacking food


On location, Production Manager and Set PAs.


In the bus to the set. Making-Of VJ.


Gurgen, Armenian actor


Agnes and Agnes, Set PAs


Latvian actors and costume girls


Latgalite flea market. Zorkis, Feds and Kievs in abundance.


Afternoon off. Getting out of Riga.



Rollei Retro 100 from here on


20 minutes train ride from Riga


Overexposed the Rollei a lot, I’m so used to shooting at ISO 400


Jurmala Beach, not much happening on a weekday afternoon





Back in Riga Central Station









Back to Tri-X +1. Jude in front of Riga Film Studios


Numan, Turkish actor


Special make-up, layers of silicon to create a burn wound


Shin-Ae, special make-up artist adjusts the colors on the burn





The Grand Cemetary




At Istabas, they serve fantastic food


The Old Town


Action choreographer talking to Jenny


Jenny, PA


Exploring Riga with Shin-Ae


Market Hall





Note to self: Stop down







On set. Weapon master explains to the actors. Rollei Retro again.


German stunt man, Matthias




Numan getting his hand burned again


Werner Daehn and Tayfun Bademsoy 


German stunt guys, Tonni and Can with Sim, Korean Set PA


You gotta look good as a PA






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10 responses to “RIGA I

  1. I so enjoyed going through each and every one of the images here. There’s something unique about each of them. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I loved the flea market shot, i had no idea that the airport security creates problems for carrying film rolls 😦 I was planning on carrying 10 of them to India next month

  3. Sometimes the wrong ISO is the right ISO, because sometimes it just works so well. They look great to me ^-^
    I’ve always wanted a Rollei, but now I want one even more!

  4. I agree with Ashley.

    Fantastic opportunity, and I’ve never seen a gravyard with so many Ukaranian crosses before; totally new for me.

  5. i am increasingly impressed with your work. thank you for sharing what may have been just an ordinary day with us through your photos…i am officially in love with Riga and putting it on my bucket list of places to visit.

  6. Great work! Love your grays. And, sometimes, the overexposure gives an interesting result! Keep on going. 🙂

  7. I prefer the second construction photo, but the first balloon shot. There are indeed some exposure issues in some of the shots, but overall this is an excellent post–as is the usual with you! I love your posts, and your sense of humor, both visually and with words.

  8. I think we shoot alike sometimes, I overcompensate exposure when shooting, then development. Good thing film takes it well
    But yeah I see what you mean, I’ve also been much more liberal with the camera lately, it’s hard to see after which is genuine crap and which kind of fits in with the set, and from there, which is the really good ones. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy streettog tutor *cough*eric kim*cough* I’d say you (and I) need to edit in the viewfinder

    PS: No way you got to work with him ?! I love Lives of Others, it’s one of my all time favorites ! He was the minister ! Wasn’t he in Downfall and Baader Meinhof too ?

  9. spool2spool

    To get my film hand checked by security, I do exactly the same. The key is 3200. If asked another question, I have delta 400 in the ziplock which I push two stops, and that is always enough. Like you, I get to security with plenty of time to hand. USA and UK are good. NZ is not.

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