Some artists don't live long enough to experience the recognition they get. Masha Ivashintsova was one of them. This Russian artist and theater critic had been heavily engaged in the Leningrad (now, Saint Petersburg) poetic and photography underground movement of the 1960−80s. Masha loved photography as it always took a major role in her mysterious and painful life. However, she always kept her photographs hidden in her attic, never showing them even to her family. Until now.


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Recently, her daughter Asya Ivashintsova-Melkumyan was going through her stuff and found a stunning collection of more than 30,000 images. After deciding to develop these photos, Asya was shocked to discover how well these photos portrayed her mother’s life and the essence of everyday life in the USSR.

“Of course, I knew that my mother was taking pictures all along. What was striking is that she never shared her works with anyone, not even her family.” - Asya said of her mother's work. “She hoarded her photo-films in the attic and rarely developed them, so nobody was ever able to appreciate the fruits of her passion. Those same films remained in the attic of our house in Pushkin, Saint Petersburg, where she originally kept them, after her death in 2000.”

The darker period of Masha’s life took place in a USSR mental hospital. There, she was gradually broken by being forced to take drugs. The Soviet Regime was aiming to 'standardize' people, to make them live by the Communist rules. This dehumanizing control system had a huge impact on Masha. It is also evident in her work. As her daughter says, "Masha had a difficult relationship with communism. She was eventually bulldozed by the party and committed to a mental hospital against her will for her «social sponging» as she could never assimilate to the all-encompassing, shouting world of socialist excitement."

Some people have already called Masha the 'Russian Vivian Maier.' Scroll down to check her work and let us know if you agree with the nickname.

More info: mashaivashintsova.com (h/t demilked)

Meet, Masha Ivashintsova (1942−2000), a woman who was hiding about 30,000 photos she took in the USSR

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#1 Leningrad, USSR, 1977

Leningrad, USSR, 1977

Masha Ivashintsova Report

Unicorn 5 months ago

DOOGOS

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#2 Marta, Leningrad, USSR, 1978

Marta, Leningrad, USSR, 1978

Masha Ivashintsova Report

Emilija Juškovė 5 months ago

OMg this shot is so good

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#3 A Portrait Photo Of Asya In 1978

A Portrait Photo Of Asya In 1978

Masha Ivashintsova Report

TheRubyFalcon 5 months ago

Beautiful (Girl/Dog/Cat)! They are all gorgeous

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#4 Inside The Building

Inside The Building

Masha Ivashintsova Report

Kiahna 5 months ago

Masterpiece.

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#5 Asya And Her Dog Marta, Leningrad, USSR, 1980

Asya And Her Dog Marta, Leningrad, USSR, 1980

Masha Ivashintsova Report

kathryn stretton 5 months ago

Sorry. I am upvoting every single photo on this thread. Can't help it. The STORY !!!! Sorry for shouting.

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#6 Two Girls In Vologda, USSR, 1979

Two Girls In Vologda, USSR, 1979

Masha Ivashintsova Report

Kenny Kulbiski 5 months ago

Village of the damned.

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#7 A Ruined Statue Of Stalin In Leningrad, USSR, 1978

A Ruined Statue Of Stalin In Leningrad, USSR, 1978

Masha Ivashintsova Report

Bored Fox 5 months ago

Here in Finland we have a joke that someone should bring all the useless Lenin statues from Russia to Finland because he really looked like one of our beloved comedians, Spede Pasanen. But we don't need the Stalin statues because he does not look like any of our comedians. :)

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#8 Melvar Melkumyan, Moscow, USSR, 1979

Melvar Melkumyan, Moscow, USSR, 1979

Masha Ivashintsova Report

Ginge 5 months ago

Melvar - "WTF!!!!!"

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#9 Melvar Melkumyan With His And Mahsa’s Only Daughter, Asya, Moscow, USSR, 1976

Melvar Melkumyan With His And Mahsa’s Only Daughter, Asya, Moscow, USSR, 1976

Masha Ivashintsova Report

DancingToMyself 5 months ago

This forest...

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#10 Linguist Melvar Melkumyan, Husband And Father, Leningrad, USSR, 1976

Linguist Melvar Melkumyan, Husband And Father, Leningrad, USSR, 1976

Masha Ivashintsova Report

Zori the degu 5 months ago

Oh, so he's indeed a sort of scientist, just as I thought!

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