Toms Harjo (born in 1996, Riga) is a photographer from Vecmilgravis, with deep ties with this part of Riga. This is a secluded port area in Riga, with omnipresent sense of sea, forests, and industry. It was back in the high school where he started experimenting with design by using fonts, photography, and text. In 2017, Toms Harjo graduated from ISSP two-year programme in contemporary photography where he took classes from the best Latvian contemporary photographers – Iveta Vaivode, Reinis Hofmanis, Andrejs Grants, Arnis Balčus un Ieva Epnere. While Toms was still a student, Arnis Balčus, Editor-in-Chief of Photo Block (Foto Kvartāls), invited him to become an Assistant Editor for the PB. Only six months later, the artist already started to direct, shoot, and edit short films about Latvian artists working with photography, thus starting to work in cinematography too. The artist took part in several group exhibitions in Latvia and abroad. He organized many personal exhibitions out of which the most important was held at Kim? Contemporary Art Center in 2018, Riga. Starting with autumn 2018, the artist studies acting in the course given by legendary director Alvis Hermanis. Religious affiliation shapes an important part of the artist’s identity. Ever since his birth, Toms has been raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. An analysis of this system of belief along with a great deal of self-analysis shapes the core of Toms Harjo’s long-term photo project “In the Truth”. The series of photos is a reflection of human desire to belong, attitude towards belief and religion. These are attempts to live in harmony with the Bible in a world that is mostly secular. Desire for spiritual and moral purity in a dialogue with emotional distance from the majority of humanity who are not in the “truth”. These are attempts to find some balance between doubts and pathetic confidence, yourself and others, loneliness and affiliation.

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