Secret Undeveloped Film Found In Russian Attic

Masha Ivashintsova (1942−2000)

True treasures are those we find spontaneously without any prior knowledge to them. Last year, while working on a renovation, Masha Ivashintsova’s daughter Asya Ivashintsova-Melkumyan and her husband discovered a box in their attic. Little did they know, this box contained over 30,000 film and negatives dating back to 1960.

Masha Ivashintsova was born in 1942 and began photography at 18 years old. She seemed to have been heavily engaged in the Leningrad poetic and photography underground movement from 1960-80s. However, she never showed anyone her photographs, poetry, or personal writing during her lifetime. She had 3 lovers, Photographer Boris Smelov, Poet Viktor Krivulin and Linguist Melvar Melkumyan, in which became the father of her daughter Asya. Three men she looked up to and deeply loved for the geniuses they were.

Masha Ivashintsova, self-portrait. Leningrad, USSR, 1976.

Her secret stash of photographs document her life living in russia during the USSR. She kept a secret diary along with the hidden photographs, transcribing her not to easy life in detail, hoping no one would ever read these sacred pages of her brain. Masha spent many years of her life in living in the grueling conditions of the USSR’s mental hospitals due to the Communist regime, sought to standardize people and force everybody to live by the communist rules. Deeply troubled and unhappy, after those difficult years, Masha suffered as she passed away at age 58 due to her loss in her battle with cancer.

After passing in 2000, it took 17 years before her daughter found her hidden treasures. Today, her daughter Asya and her husband are slowly developing each photograph and presenting them for the world to see and experience the incredible time her mother lived through and documented ever so beautifully. Below is a selection of the photos Asya has shared so far:

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

Leningrad, USSR, 1975

Leningrad, USSR, 1975

Nevsky Prospekt, Leningrad, USSR, 1975

Leningrad, USSR, 1975

Leningrad, USSR, 1975.

Carpathians, Ukranian SSR, 1976

Leningrad, USSR, 1976.

Leningrad, USSR, 1977.

Leningrad, USSR, 1977

Marta, Leningrad, USSR 1978

Asya Ivashintsova-Melkumyan (Masha's Daughter), Orehovo, USSR, 1978

Leningrad, USSR, 1979

Leningrad, USSR, 1979

Leningrad, USSR, 1981.

<em>Self-portrait, taken in Dubroshkino, Leningrad</em>, 1989.

Self-portrait, taken in Dubroshkino, Leningrad, 1989.


05 Apr 2018 by Lisa Scarpa

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