“One could easily say there’s nothing to photograph there, because it’s just like any other park,” says Latvian photographer Arnis Balcus of Victory Park. Situated in the Latvian capital Riga, Victory Park [‘Uzvaras Park’ in Latvian] was officially opened in 1910, in the presence of Tsar Nicholas II and the Mayor of Riga. But, as Balcus explains, “it is a park with a complex history”. First built to commemorate Latvian independence, the park was given its current name after the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in WWII, and as such “embodies the historical trauma of a small Baltic nation”, says Balcus. It’s famous for its Victory Monument which, at 79m high, looms over Riga’s skyline and provides a daily reminder of the controversial issue it signifies.
The Guardian’s photo critic picks out his top five of the year, including Sohrab Hura’s installation The Lost Head & The Bird at The Nines, London during Peckham 24
“Really, it was only in the Snowden revelations that we realised how often these agencies don’t act in our best interest,” says Lewis Bush. “In some ways I hope that a project like this can make people think about how these abstract but very powerful forces in the world can be visualised when you find the right strategy.” He’s talking about his new project, Shadow of the State, a new photobook that investigates and exposes mysterious broadcasts dating back to the Cold War. Bush has spent the past two years seeking out the sources of these broadcasts, covert sites across the globe from North Korea and Russia to Washington and Cuba.