"Purely documentary photography is, to me, too primitive, and the subjective portrayal of one’s world is incomprehensible; the real values in photo-art are somewhere between the two.
I don’t pursue sensationalism, striking events or characters, nature photography, documentarism or portraiture. I am looking for a resonance between the visible world and my soul. If I perceive such a harmony, I take a picture.
When taking pictures, I influence the people who are my subject. If they submit to this influence, the result is a positive one. However, very few people actually submit to it. This influence occurs in a mysterious way; the photographer, with his sophisticated and strange apparatus, communicates his intention and feelings without words, or any sign at all...
Concerning contemporary trends in photography, I’ll mention those aspects that seem to me to be negative: conceptualism, now developed to a highly personalized and individualist degree, has replaced genuine feeling in current photography; contemporary photography is short of great ideas, glutted with insignificant subjects; photographers are lazy concerning significant world events, social as well as humane.
Perhaps, however, I am not correct about this: I am coming to an age when a person must be careful about the conclusions he draws, which can prove too conservative."
Born in 1933 in the district of Aluksne. Graduated form Priekuļi Technical School of Agricultural Mechanisation (1957) and completed a correspondance course of the Press Photography School of the Moscow Central House of Journalists (1961 – 1963). Taught photography at the Riga Secondary School of Applied Arts (1964 – 1976). Joined the Riga Camera Club in 1964. Held regular solo exhibitions since 1959, and was an active participant in international photography exhibitions from 1964 onwards. Worked as a lighting designer at Valmiera Drama Theatre (1961 – 1962) and the Youth Theatre in Riga (1962 – 1963). Created documentary films utilising dynamic montage of black and white photos, such as „Hello, Moscow!” (1966, in collaboration with Arnolds Plaudis and Sarmīte Kviesīte), „Hands” (1967) and „Salute” (1975). Created the newsreel „Art” (1966, No. 4, on the international exhibition Interpress – Foto 66 in Riga, 1967) and took part in making of the documentary films „Valmiera Girls” (1970), „I have been, I am, I will be” (1974) and „Mirror of Thirst” (1976).
In the first half of 60’s Gunārs Binde quickly gained recognition in the USSR and internationally for his „Psychological Portrait” (1962), the series of staged photographs „The Wall” (1964), the dramatic and expressive „Portrait (Eduards Smiļģis)” (1965) and several nudes. In the course of artistic collaboration with artist and scenographer Arnolds Plaudis he developed an original method of staged photography, for which there are no direct analogies in world photographic art of the 60’s. The photographer’s ideas are realised through a syntesis of theatrical and acting elements, along with aesthetic principles borrowed from film, so that we may draw distant parallels with well – known movements in the world at that time, such as Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave. A significant concept in the art of Gunārs Binde is that of the „artistic image in photography” : distinguished from the simple recording of facts, it expresses a philosophical meaning intended by the photographer.
The International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) has awarded Gunārs Binde the distinctions AFIAP (Artiste FIAP, 1975) and EFIAP (Exellence FIAP, 1988). Aside from that he is an honourable member of photographic organisations in Finland, Hungary, Germany, Austria and Poland. He has had many solo and group exhibitions in Japan, the USA, Slovakia, Austria, France, Czech Republic, Poland and all around the world. He has been awarded the Order of the Three Stars which is the highest award for meritorious service to Latvia. He has received numerous awards for his works, like „Grand Prix” in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1965 for his „Portrait (Eduards Smiļģis)” and his works are a part of many private collections, such as Michel Auer’s . He is today one of the three most important Latvian photographers and is often called „the legend of Latvian photography”. He resides in Riga, Latvia and is happily married to his wife and muse (model of „The Flight”, „9 months”, and other photo series) Tanya.