Daughter Finds Box With 30,000 Never-Before-Seen Negatives In Attic, Her Jaw Drops When She Develops Them

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.

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)

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Melvar Melkumyan with his and Mahsa’s only daughter, Asya, Moscow, USSR, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Two girls in Vologda, USSR, 1979

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Masha Ivashintsova with her lover, photographer Boris Smelov, Leningrad, USSR, 1974

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Masha’s lover Viktor Krivulin, Novolukoml, Byelorussian SSR, 1979

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Nevsky Prospekt, Leningrad, USSR, 1975

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Melvar Melkumyan, Moscow, USSR, 1983

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Leningrad, USSR, 1977

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Asya and her dog Marta, Leningrad, USSR, 1980

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Toy store “Detsky Mir”, Dzerzhinsky Square, Moscow, USSR, 1983

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Leningrad, USSR, 1981

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Melvar Melkumyan, Moscow, USSR, 1979

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Leningrad, USSR, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Tbilisi, 1989

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Boris Smelov, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 1993

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Leningrad, USSR, 1978

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Marta, Leningrad, USSR, 1978

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

The banks of the Neva River in Leningrad, 1979

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Village near Lake Sevan, Armenia, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Leningrad, USSR

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Leningrad, USSR, 1975

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

A ruined statue of Stalin in Leningrad, USSR, 1978

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Street portrait in St. Petersburg, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

A cosmonaut-themed playground in Leningrad

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Inside the building

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Boys

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Leningrad, USSR, 1985

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

A portrait photo of Asya in 1978

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

A crowd on the outskirts of a May Day parade in Leningrad, 1979

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Pixie-faced boys in Staraya Russa

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Portrait of a family friend in 1974

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Carpathians, Ukranian SSR, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Linguist Melvar Melkumyan, husband and father, Leningrad, USSR, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Arseny Tarkovsky, Leningrad, USSR, 1981

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Nevsky Prospekt, Leningrad, USSR, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Tbilisi, 1989

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Nevsky Prospekt, Leningrad, USSR, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Pushkinskie Gory, Pskov Oblast, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Orehovo, Leningrad, USSR, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Leningrad, USSR, 1975

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

Pushkinskiye Gory, Pskov Oblast, 1976

Image credits: Masha Ivashintsova

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