A Russian Vivian Maier?

I think it does little service to “Leningrad’s lost photographerMasha Ivashintsova (1942-2000)  to call her a ‘Russian Vivian Maier‘ as the headline in Peta Pixel about her work does. The images in ‘Russian Vivian Maier’ Discovered After 30,000 Photos Found in Attic‘ bear no similarity to the work of Maier, nor do the circumstances of her life or the ‘discovery’ of her archive.  And fortunately, since they have been put on-line and into the ‘Masha Galleries‘ by her only daughter Asya Ivashintsova-Melkumyan there are very unlikely to be any of the legal shenanigans that have plagued the exploitation of the work of Maier by various parties.

Masha ‘s husband and daughter had moved to Moscow away from her when the marriage broke up around 1976, and the pictures (including some of the daughter) were found in 2017 by her daughter and her husband in the attic of the family home in house in Pushkin, Saint Petersburg where her mother had stored them.

Looking through the images both in the article and on the Masha Ivashintsova website and Instagram it is apparent that she was a very proficient photographer and the pictures also appear to be an interesting document of “the Leningrad poetic and photography underground movement of the 1960−80s”.  There is too a stylistic consistency absent from the work of Maier.

Of course we have so far seen only a very small fraction of her output, though perhaps more will emerge with an exhibition being planned this Summer in Vienna. It isn’t of course something that is going to change the history of photography, but I think it might well make a very interesting book or two – and possibly a rather interesting film.

I’ve long been of the opinion that their are many interesting collections of photographs in attics and often consigned to skips around the world, and its good to see one of them preserved and presented to the public.




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