Meet a member – 5 Questions to Emilie Bots

The International Women’s Club of Riga is proud of its diverse network of women with various backgrounds, talents and skills.

Today, we met with Emilie Bots. Emilie is a member for about a year and is a passionate photographer. She wants to capture those moments for families you want to remember forever. Life is short. Kids grow so fast and as a parent you want to remember every detail from their childhood. There will be good moments, loving moments, hilarious moments, sweet moments and maybe even ugly moments. So is life. 

This month we liked to find out more about Emilies work, and to learn about her new project – a special photo series with the professional dancer Lauma Berga to honour the beauty of the city of Riga. … And we are extremely glad to unveil,

IWCR: Emilie, can you share with us how you found out about IWCR, and why do you want to give to our organization? What motivates you to be involved?

Emilie: When we got the news we were moving to Riga, I asked our Embassy here for some help where to live and they got me in contact with a lovely friend who introduced me to the “todds group”. A wonderful group of other moms (and of course some dads!) with little ones who help each other, have playdates together and share amazing friendships. They also introduced me to the Women’s club. When I joined my first Meet & Greet, I felt so welcome and immediately had nice conversations with other women. It was a very warm welcome and since I joined the club, I’ve had the pleasure to join some workshops and trips and meet with several friends during this first year of our stay in Latvia. 

Besides the social aspect I love that the Women’s club does so much for charity and helps at so many different levels. Not only by giving money but also by collecting things like clothes and school supplies, making field trips possible and of course the big Christmas Bazaar. Last year I couldn’t join so this year I will definitely be part of it.

IWCR: Emilie, can you share a little bit about yourself? What is your profession, what have you done before, your cultural background and country of origin.

Emilie: I’m from The Netherlands and I’ve lived there my whole life so this is the first time I’m living abroad. We’re here for a couple years for my husbands job. He works in Ventspils but we decided to live here because there is no expat community in Ventspils so it would be quite difficult for me to build a life there. We moved last year a couple months after our son Olivier was born. His big sister Guusje who is 3,5 years old, makes us a family of four. 

I’ve studied International Health Economics, Policy and Law and worked in this field before we moved to Latvia. Photography was always an interest but since the birth of my daughter it became more than that and I’ve been following several programs and workshops to make it my profession. So at the moment I’m working as a family photographer here in Riga.  

IWCR: Emilie, you are a passionated photographer. What are your favourite motives, and what inspires you?

Emilie: As a photographer I’ve never been a big fan of the ‘dress up, stand together and smile’ pictures. For me it’s all about the real moments which happen while real life happens. That look from your daughter when she gets that second cookie which she wasn’t supposed to have, or the hug from your son when he just woke up after his nap. 

I’ve got a picture of myself with my newborn in the carrier trying to get him asleep while I also try to eat a sandwich. It’s such a funny picture and when I see that picture I’m back in that moment and I can feel again how it was with a newborn and a toddler running around. I think these memories, these real moments are the ones you want to keep forever so that’s why I love to work as a documentary family photographer and capture these real moments for families. Sometimes that means a mini-shoot while the familie plays in the park, or celebrates a birthday, and sometimes it means spending the whole day with the family to make a Day In My Life report for them. Especially being an expat and living somewhere for a short period of time, makes it precious to capture how your life is in the city where you are living now. 

IWCR: During summer you have been busy with a new project. What is it about? I think it was something so beautiful but different from your work as a family photographer.

Emilie: Yes, it really was! I did a shoot this summer with my friend and professional dancer Lauma Berga in the streets of Riga. 

Years ago, I saw pictures of ballerinas dancing in the streets of Havana and it just took my breath away. When I met Lauma and joined her ballet/pilates lessons I was so inspired by her talent and her spirit that I started to think about doing a shoot with her in the streets in Riga. Luckily, for me she was very excited about the project and within three weeks we were able to start shooting. I wanted to show the beauty of Riga through the eyes of a dancer: A bit rough on the edges maybe but so beautiful and gracious at the same time. We tried to let the lines of her movement come together with the city. 

The project was a dream coming true. So different from my other photography but such a joy to do. I hope that people enjoy watching the photos as much as we did making them!

IWCR: Would you share with us what you like most about Latvia (a place you like most, a dish, an event, music, culture, a funny story about Latvia etc.)?

Latvia has been a big surprise and still is. I didn’t have a lot of expectations when we moved here a year ago but the country has shown so much beauty and lovely places. Just walking through the forest here is already amazing and going to places such as Cesis and Sigulda has been a great joy. I love the beautiful outdoors, all the lakes and swamps, the beach of course and many other things. Also Latvia is really child friendly with so many restaurants and cafes which have play areas, playgrounds are everywhere, lots of parks to go play or ride your bike. Even though it’s only been a year, Latvia and especially Riga really feels as our home and we’re enjoying every minute of it. 

Fundraiser for MARTAS centrs

With great pleasure we present to you this special photo series which will be exhibited in Spring 2021. Professional dancer Lauma Berga and photographer Emilie Bots worked together in Riga to honour the beauty of the city. This is an exclusive opportunity to purchase these pictures as fine-art prints through a charity fundraiser auction. All proceeds of the sale will go directly to MARTA Centre, the first women’s rights non-government organisation in Latvia. We want to support the centre for women and children, and raise awareness for the important work of MARTA.

Emilie Bots Photography:

Meet our members

Thank you Emilie for taking the time for this interview, and for your support and talent you give to IWCR. We are very grateful to organise this amazing fundraiser together.

The interview was prepared by Kerstin Steinberg, President of IWCR.

It is very interesting to learn more about our members. If you like to read more.

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