New East Digital Archive

Devil’s Lake: Explore strange waters with Latvian photographer Vika Eksta

7 June 2018

Photographer Vika Eksta grew up close to the shores of Devil’s Lake — a body of emerald water, deep in the forests of eastern Latvia.

Growing up, she was immersed in the myths and secrets that surrounded the water: whispers of a demon who dragged people down to the watery depths, rumours of an underground tunne and an ancient meteorite.

The lake’s growing popularity with tourists is adding to local lore, with each new visitor bringing their own stories.

Eksta’s latest work, Velnezers — the lake’s name in Latvian — doesn’t try to delve into the truth behind these legends, instead capturing the spirit of the lake and its unwavering, magnetic appeal. She began creating images and interviewing local villagers in 2015.

“The place was (and still is) considered to be unholy,” says Eksta. “[I wanted to] capture the essence of the mystical atmosphere around the lake and its modern transformation.”

Velnezers is now showing in Latvia for the first time at ISSP in Riga between 8 June and 18 July. For more information, click here.