Eduards Kraucs' collection of Glass Plate Photographic Negatives - the Course of the Construction of Kegums Power Station 1936-1940

One of the aspects of Latvenergo Group’s corporate social responsibility entails the preservation of its documentary and industrial heritage, making this heritage accessible to the public, raising public awareness of it and thus increasing the public’s understanding of Latvia’s historical experience and memory, thereby boosting national self-awareness.

Latvenergo AS Power Industry Museum’s collection contains a collection of glass plate photographic negatives by the renowned, founding father of Latvia’s sound cinema chronicles, cameraman and photographer, Eduards Kraucs (1898-1977) which depicts the course of the construction of a technical-engineering facility unique in Northern Europe and the Baltic region - Kegums Power Station - during the period from 8 September 1936 until 20 July 1940. Currently, this collection of glass plate negatives documenting the course of the construction of Kegums Power Station is the only known example in Europe of such a comprehensive photographic record of the development of a building project. This building project is of major significance to the first period of the history of the independent Latvian state (1918-1940), both as its biggest technical-engineering construction project and as a symbol of national and public self-awareness, which showcases the ability of Latvia’s specialists to handle complicated technical challenges in addition to being a shining example of international cooperation. Kegums Power Station is the foundation on which Latvia’s uniform power system and the Latvenergo Group were built. Its construction also triggered rapid economic growth, the electrification of Latvia’s regions and increased welfare for the Latvian population. Kegums Power Station is a symbol of Latvia’s 20th century history and a key asset in the realm of its industry and public social welfare.

The argument for documentary heritage signification

The collection is unique and irreplaceable both as the chronological record of an historical event - the course of the construction of Kegums Power Station and as an outstanding example of the professional activity of one of the 20th century’s great photographers, Eduards Kraucs. The photographer’s professionalism is evident through his exposition of the subject matter, his selection of compositions that complement their content and his consistent application of his unique style of communication. Eduards Kraucs’ achievement has a broader cultural-historical significance. Such was the sheer force of expression and meaning conveyed by Kraucs' achievement that it had a major impact on a large section of society at the time of Kegums Power Station’s construction and is still significant today as an important document depicting both the factual and contemporary aspects of industrial progress during the first half of the 20th century.

Preservation and identification of Documentary heritage

Appropriate conditions will be provided at Latvenergo AS Power Industry Museum, Andrejostas iela 8, Riga to ensure the due safety and preservation of Eduards Kraucs’ collection of glass plate photographic negatives documenting the course of the construction of Kegums Power Station. Visitors to the museum will have the chance to view photographs, digital images and photo albums from Eduards Kraucs’ collection documenting the construction of Kegums Power Station. The multi-visual story of the course of Kegums Power Station’s construction as viewed through the lens of Eduards Kraucs’ camera will be created using photographic images from the collection. The museum also plans to organise exhibitions, a museum-based teaching programme, promotions, events and other public activities to promote public awareness of the collection both in Latvia and abroad. To promote the collection, we plan on cooperating with industry museums and industrial heritage institutions in Latvia and the Baltic region. The collection and Kegums Power Station’s unique technical solution will be subjected to research. Research will also be conducted into Eduards Kraucs’ personality and creative heritage. The results of this research will be distributed via electronic and print media.

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