The Flawed Artist #2

VALTERS PUDANS

"I am a 22 year old Latvian photographer, who was born and raised in a country town with population only around 2000. I  started my creative journey when I was 15 and it all started with wandering around and capturing landscapes and natures beauty, but for over a year I hasve been living in England and have started to do my own projects and
making my ideas "come to life".

My favourite quote is:

"Be easy. Take your time. You are coming home. To yourself."

- Nayyirah Waheed

Describe a flaw that you have, a trying time in your life or something you would change about yourself.
​​
Definitely it’s confidence or self-doubt. I always had the feeling that I’m not good enough. Actually that’s not completely true, because I have the feeling inside of me that I’m good and I’m meant for something big, but a lot of the time when it comes to photo shoots I get nervous and all of these thoughts come inside my mind and it’s really hard to get rid of them. But it comes with time and work, eventually I will not feel them at all, I just have to prove to myself that I’m good.


What is your best memory?
I don’t have a best memory; I guess I just don’t group them, it wouldn’t be fair.

What is your worst memory?

I’m not sure, I don’t have a worst memory – everything is an experience, it’s up to us how we react to things. We can remember something, get mad, get sad or even angry or we can take them as lessons, because the bad things teach us the most. But a situation that I would never want to be in again was when I moved to UK in summer of 2015  - at the beginning it took me time to sort out all of the formalities (Nino, bank account, registered home address) and without those I couldn’t get a job, so of course I ran out of money and as I never expected to be in this kind of situation, I didn’t tell anyone, not my family or even friends, not even those who I lived with. I somehow managed to do some day jobs that paid for the food, but not much and I couldn’t afford anything else. I remember sitting in front of the house that I lived in at the moment, in the rain, with tears in my eyes and confusion in my mind – how did I get so far, why is it happening to me, am I really bad that these things are happening to me. It happened, it was painful and hard, but I managed to survive it, on my own and it made me stronger and smarter, I know what I did wrong and I’m more than sure it’ll never happen again, but in the mean time it was something extraordinary –
it changed me so much, for the good of course.


What has been one of the most defining moments in your life so far?
Moving to UK I guess. I finally stood only for myself, did things only for myself. I spent a lot of time alone there, not because I didn’t have somebody to go out with, but because I wanted to be alone, I wanted to get to know myself, understand myself. I found my voice, my photography style… I found myself.

What is the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake you made or a trying time in your life?

The biggest mistake – don’t try to fit in, be yourself. I grew up in a countryside town, a small one and didn’t have a big choice of people to spend time with and as a teenager I wanted friends, I wanted to be invited to parties and have friends calling me. It’s funny how so many say  that every one of us is unique, but at the same moment they call other people weird. But at the same time I can’t say I regret that I tried to fit in, probably without all of that, I wouldn’t be the same person I’m right now.


What is the one thing people always misunderstand about you and why do you think this happens?
Looking back on the past, I could say a lot of people misunderstood me completely, but I can’t blame them – as I mentioned earlier, I tried to fit in, I became what I’m not, so it was my own fault. But still, no regrets on that one, but probably a lot of people from my past don’t know me at all, even the ones I was close to.

What character traits do you possess that you would like to break and why?

Definitely laziness, it’s hard sometimes to push yourself and do more, but I found that planning your time and days works for that, I have been more productive since started doing that.


What is your philosophy in life?
Hmm, philosophy of life – good one! I believe we get one, just one life and we get to choose how to live it, so I would say love is my philosophy – do the things you love, the things that makes you happy and keeps you awake at night. I know a lot of people are saying: “Well, life is life”, I don’t agree with that, I believe that life is no coincidence – we can shape it as we want it to be.

What feels like love to you?

Love, huh – love feels like truth to me – being true to yourself. Being completely yourself and doing things you want, just for that reason I guess. Because let’s compare it to family members or your partner – I believe that love comes natural to us, it’s not something that needs to be pushed or asked for, especially because all of us are different, we show and react to it differently, but I would say the right answer (at least for me) is already in your question – love is doing what you feel. Let’s say, bring your girl flowers because you want to, not because it’s some kind of duty or cook dinner for your parents, not only for celebration, but on a random day, to make their day easier and more enjoyable. Do things that feel right for you, that could make other peoples world happier, but don’t expect anything back, do it because of love, the love for the people that you have in your life, it’s a good reason to be good and show love. It also comes down to hobbies and other stuff, that we have in our life – let’s say photography for me, when I started it, I started only because I liked it, after a while I already loved it and it makes me happy, it feels right. I once read in a book, that you’re truly happy when you’re busy doing something, but with a smile on your face and the feeling inside that you’re alive – I feel it, it’s magical.


What cheers you up when you are down and why?
Definitely it’s a ride with my long board, some good tunes and it’s probably going to be the same when my van will be finished – I always liked movement, moving ahead, going nowhere, but just moving. It’s like getting lost, going places without a reason, with an open mind and open heart. Going somewhere new, never knowing if it’s going to be good or bad and not worrying about it. It’s a way for me to leave everything behind and it just brings positivity back. Recently I started to take photos with a film camera, usually I pack it in my backpack too, but I’m not risking it with the digital camera – too expensive – I tend to go over my limits sometimes and I wouldn’t like to land on it when I fall. But I am definitely
taking both of them with me on my van drives.

What do you think is the most important thing someone can do to improve themselves and why?
Become egoistic – it’s all about you, not in the way that everyone should become heartless, angry and not think about others, but be egoistic about what others think about you, be you and screw all the others that don’t support or believe in you. Try the things you want to try, even if the entire world says your mad or you’re going to fail or that you’re too old for that. But don’t become heartless, still care for the ones in trouble or need, for the ones that are there for you, for the ones you love – follow your heart and always do the right thing that you believe, no matter who says you should do differently –
the people who care for you, they’ll understand.


What is the last thing you have done that’s really worth remembering?
​​
Actually the last 2 years of my life have been crazy, full of changes and new experiences –  I’m going to remember all of it, so much changed, I have grown so much from it and it all happened because I stepped out of my comfort zone – I would suggest it to everyone, but I can’t tell one specific thing – it’s all been a crazy adventure; risky and scary sometimes, but at least I feel alive.

Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of and if so what is stopping you?

I thought about it for a few minutes and I can say “No” to this one. I’m not holding on to anything, everything that comes in to our lives happens because it needed to happen – learn from it, don’t forget it, but don’t hold on to it.


What have you given up on and why?
Learning to play guitar, it was the first thing that popped into my mind – I was patient enough, but my fingers weren’t stretching as far as needed them to without my finger tips hurting really badly… I guess it just wasn’t for me. I could have learned it, but not every battle is for us and I gave up on it. I didn’t have a passion big enough to pursue it.

Words and Photography: ​Valters Pudans - Instagram

Muse: Sabine Patricija Grase - Instagram

Location: Riga, Latvia
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