Faces of the Time
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  Faces of time

Time savors the notion of freedom and the possibility of freedom. Yet living is still difficult. Heaviness of the fate creeps along and tries to distort its features into a grimace of mockery. The idea of Homeland and Freedom that had almost irrevocably sunk oblivion of memory re-emerges slowly and reluctantly back into reality.

Wilhelm Mikhailovsky reveals the drama of fate and heaviness of fate. Time has flown over these faces like a river over stones. Lapping around and refreshing some and tormenting others. Someone of considerable age looks at the world with a child's eyes. Someone else looks at the same world only through the debris of the green years. After a time the present book may become "an album of history". Although not yet. Our attitude is still active and probing to those people who are seen on these photographs and who in some way have been promoted by our times.

And this book server as witness of a certain historical moment in the whole flux of time. Tragicomedy of the age. Elation and despair. Facts and more facts. Events well known from experience. Like a caress. Like sandpaper.

Wilhelm Mikhailovsky "disrobes" the facts or the face to the extent even to the colleagues it seemed unacceptable. He strives to show how painfully time treats life, how mercilessly the time's chisel carves each bygone day in the human face. Mikhailovsky conveys to us many faucets of feelings. His photographs display more the human spirituality than the tracery of our sensations. Camera observes the facts. Mikhailovsky endows it alt with a higher significance and meaning, distinguishing it from the daily reality yet without casting doubt on the truthfulness of the fact or beautifying it. The outer shell and the transitory are stripped away. It may happen against the will of the facts or the face. Thus indeed the image created by humans for themselves can vanish, the conventional, traditionally "presentable" face disappears, the official photographing of the facts vanishes. Then the disputes about Mikhailovsky's works shifted from the field of aesthetic censorship to the realm "you can't do that". That is Mikhailovsky's vision of reality.

In these faces and glimpses of history, in everyday scenes he seeks for a generalization - for a symbol, for the deepest meaning of what wee see and have experienced. Mikhailovsky sees the significance of the timeless in our immediate reality. What will main when the slogans grow old, when the waves of today's reality will be swallowed up by the waves to come, when the death will be covered with a shroud of memories? What will remain when today are time crumbles to dust?

Neither a dazzling glimmer, nor lascivious plays with flashes of light determine the form of the photographs, but the black and white, shadow and light. Faces are like symbols between life and death. Time allotted to each of us falls like leaves over the faces, what remains are our own value (of a fact, a deed). Or nothing remains.

Latvia in portraits with no commentary. This could be another title for the present book about a short time span singled out from eternity in a small country at the turn of 1990-s.. It is the time that woke up memory and changed the whole route of this country so radically that much of us had forgotten about it even in dreams. Maybe that is why only the memory is awake. The spirit is in semi-slumber looking for the strength. For the road to the Sun. In these faces for whom Homeland, Freedom will hopefully not be a more monument but a mode of life.

Viktors Avotinsh.

Wilhelm Mikhailovsky ©