Masha Ivashintsova. Self-Portrait, Leningrag, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Masha Ivashintsova, self-portrait, Leningrad, USSR, 1978

Masha Ivashintsova

1942 – 2000
Carpathians, Ukranian SSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Carpathians, Ukrainian SSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Village near lake Sevan, Armenian SSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Village near lake Sevan, Armenian SSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Orehovo, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Asya, Marta and Pusya. Orehovo, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
May Day Demonstration, Leningrag, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
May Day Demonstration, Leningrag, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Tverskaya street, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Tverskaya street, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Stalin, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Stalin, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Marta, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Marta, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Seryozha. Saint-Petersburg, Russia, June, 1999 | Masha Ivashintsova [Leica mini II]
Seryozha. Saint-Petersburg, Russia, June, 1999 | Masha Ivashintsova [Leica mini II]
Leningrad, USSR, 1974 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1974 | Masha Ivashintsova
Moscow, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova [IKOFLEX, 6x6]
Moscow, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova [IKOFLEX, 6x6]
Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, 1989 | Masha Ivashintsova
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, 1989 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Kruzenstern Bark, Leningrad, USSR, 1979 | Masha Ivashintsova
Lieutenant Schmidt Embankment, Leningrad, USSR, 1979 | Masha Ivashintsova
May Day, Leningrad, USSR, 1974 | Masha Ivashintsova
May Day, Leningrad, USSR, 1974 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Viktor Krivulin, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Viktor Krivulin, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Toy store «Detsky Mir», Moscow, USSR, 1983 | Masha Ivashintsova
Toy store «Detsky Mir», Moscow, USSR, 1983 | Masha Ivashintsova
Staraya Russa, Novgorod Oblast, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Staraya Russa, Novgorod Oblast, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1981 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1981 | Masha Ivashintsova
Summer Garden, Sculpture of Seneca, Leningrad, USSR, 1977 | Masha Ivashintsova
Summer Garden, Sculpture of Seneca, Leningrad, USSR, 1977 | Masha Ivashintsova
... And at that moment the theater is born. The theater, i.e., an immediate gratuitousness provoking acts without use or profit.
— Le Théâtre et son double. Antonin Artaud
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Pusya and Harlequin. Leningrad, USSR, 1977 | Masha Ivashintsova [IKOFLEX, 6x6]
Pusya and Harlequin. Leningrad, USSR, 1977 | Masha Ivashintsova [IKOFLEX, 6x6]
Leningrad, USSR, 1977 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1977 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1985 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1985 | Masha Ivashintsova
Melvar Melkumyan, Moscow, USSR, 1987 | Masha Ivashintsova
Melvar Melkumyan, Moscow, USSR, 1987 | Masha Ivashintsova
Arseny Tarkovsky, Leningrad, USSR, 1981 | Masha Ivashintsova
Arseny Tarkovsky, Leningrad, USSR, 1981 | Masha Ivashintsova
Moscow, USSR, 1987 | Masha Ivashintsova
Moscow, USSR, 1987 | Masha Ivashintsova
The slit. Kutuzov embankment. Leningrad, USSR, 1977 | Masha Ivashintsova
The slit. Kutuzov embankment. Leningrad, USSR, 1977 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1977 | Masha Ivashintsova [IKOFLEX, 6x6]
Leningrad, USSR, 1977 | Masha Ivashintsova [IKOFLEX, 6x6]
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, 1989 | Masha Ivashintsova
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, 1989 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova [IKOFLEX, 6x6]
Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova [IKOFLEX, 6x6]
Leningrad, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, 1989 | Masha Ivashintsova
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, 1989 | Masha Ivashintsova
Zoo, Leningrad, USSR, 1983 | Masha Ivashintsova
Zoo, Leningrad, USSR, 1983 | Masha Ivashintsova
Vologda, USSR, 1979 | Masha Ivashintsova
Belozersk, Vologda Oblast, USSR, 1979 | Masha Ivashintsova
Boris Smelov and Masha Ivashintsova, Self-Portrait, Leningrad, USSR, 1974
Boris Smelov and Masha Ivashintsova, Self-Portrait, Leningrad, USSR, 1974
Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
I loved without memory: is that not an epigraph to the book, which does not exist? I never had a memory for myself, but always for others.
— Masha Ivashintsova
Masha Ivashintsova, self-portrait, Leningrad, USSR, 1977​
Masha Ivashintsova, self-portrait, Leningrad, USSR, 1977
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May Day. Leningrad, USSR, 1974 | Masha Ivashintsova
Masha often photographed the television screen. The TV section of newspapers was extremely popular in those years – television programs and films appeared and disappeared on a screen like fleeting street scenes.
TV screen
Masha met with her father only once, when he came from the war zone to Sverdlovsk for several days. She was about a year old.
Masha in Sverdlovsk
Yury Ilyichev
"10 years from the date of our acquaintance.
September 25, 1974".
Photobooth. Melvar and Masha
IKOFLEX IIa was one of Masha's cameras.
IKOFLEX. An instruction
In May 1974, in the Moscow-Leningrad train, Masha meets Boris Smelov.
Contact sheet, 1974
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In 1974-1976 many shots Boris and Masha did together from one position and to the same camera.
Photography of a neighbor
Hand-painted and framed by Masha
"The interior of my house". Leningrad, USSR, 1978
The room in a communal apartment (rus. "kommunalka") on Tverskaya Street, where Masha lived from 1970 to 1982
"The interior of my house". Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
"Under the Parachute" Exhibition
Leningrad, USSR, 1974
"Under the Parachute" Exhibition, 1974
Masha Ivashintsova — Brought to Light
European exhibition of Masha's works in October 2018. Bydgoszcz, Poland from Oct 12 to Oct 27 within the IV Vintage Photo Festival. Photo Arkadiusz Wojtasiewicz
Poster. Leningrad, USSR, 1979 | Masha Ivashintsova
Masha with children. Late 1950s
Masha is second from the left. 1950s
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Soviet photography vs Masha Ivashintsova
The official Soviet photography of 1970-1980 was under total ideological control. The Soviet photographer was forbidden to take pictures of normal everyday life, not to mention dirty yards and garbage, drunks and beggars, queues in the shops. The ideologically correct picture was supposed to record the «heroes of socialist labor» and the «labor feats» of the Soviet people and their daily enthusiasm. Against this background Masha Ivashintsova photographs stand out as an artistic and documentary record of the real, everyday life of the Soviet people, without socialist grandeur.

Image: Official Soviet photography — V. Paradnya «Mine Workers» (Journal «Soviet Photo», 1975) vs Masha Ivashintsova (Leningrad, 1974)
Initiation into the Pioneers. Leningrad, USSR, 1955 or 1956
Initiation into the Pioneers. Leningrad, USSR, 1955 or 1956
Post card
Unspoken Verses, 1993
Masha Ivashintsova "Unspoken Verses", 1993
You and I will never meet, –
we have no address or telephone number.
And you are so distant and unfamiliar,
how could you know
the Babylon
I was cast into by my sick ravings,
about my dismal fate,
about life's fateful crossroads...
An eclipse of reason and then the snowy platforms,
where I waited for you, –
where we could have been.
Ill intent,
a legal error, –
we can never be,
We never met,
That's my answer to the doctor...
And those hard carriages,
where you wander alone
Covered in snow...

Translated by Matthew Hyde, 2019
Winter. IKOFLEX, 6x6 | Masha Ivashintsova
On November 4, 1976, by a strange coincidence, the dog Marta appeared in Masha's life. This year Marta turned two and a half years old. Marta was an amazing dog and a faithful companion of Masha.

Marta died in May 1986.
Marta, Masha's dog
Viktor Krivulin to Masha
... You are talking about "my environment". I have no people, almost none, with whom I could be myself, and not just a natural and lively interlocutor. Masha, my dear, you don't even know lived these last six months — waiting for your calls and and encounters with you, and this is not a hobby, not a thoughtless passion, this is a long-suffering expectation — suffered by you and me...
Masha and Viktor Krivulin, Novolukoml, BSSR, 1979
Masha Ivashintsova with Boris Smelov
Cupid and Psyche
Summer Garden, Leningrad, USSR, 1974 [Kodachrome, slide, 6x9]
Masha Ivashintsova with Boris Smelov Cupid and Psyche, 1974
Very High Frequency therapy (rus. "УВЧ-терапия") was a popular form of treatment in USSR. A VHF-device, based on the same principles as radio and television, served to treat various types of inflammation.

The Department of Very High Frequency therapy, Leningrad, USSR, 1978
The Department of Very High Frequency therapy, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Masha: Street Photography
Masha's first American exhibition. New York, USA, Nov 27 — Dec 3 at the International Center of Photography (ICP) as part of the «ICP-Projected». The exhibition can be viewed after the sunset at International Center of Photography (ICP), 250 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
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Masha with friends. Olgino. USSR, 1948
Masha with friends. Olgino. USSR, 1948
Soviet photography vs Masha Ivashintsova
The mechanisms of total control and punishment permeated the entire Soviet society. To take photos of demonstrations and mass events, the photographer needed to obtain a special permit, otherwise she would be arrested and taken to the police station. Her film would be flashed, and her name would be put into the file of «unreliable citizens».

Image:
Official Soviet photography — V. Musaelyan «Brezhnev in Novorossiysk» (Journal «Soviet Photo», 1975) vs Masha Ivashintsova (Leningrad, 1978)
A rare non-staged photo of a metro carriage (Masha Ivashintsova archive). Leningrad, USSR, late 1950s
A rare non-staged photo of a metro carriage (Masha Ivashintsova archive). Leningrad, USSR, late 1950s
Lenin with a cat
Young natural scientist club, rus. youny naturalist
Head of the club Rostislav Rakht, Leningrad, USSR, 1978

"Younnat" (rus. "юннат") from "youny naturalist" (rus. "юный натуралист", eng. "young natural scientist") is a member of an animal lovers after-school club in which children study the natural sciences. At the beginning of 1975 there were about 500 clubs throughout the USSR. The monthly magazine "Young Naturalist" (rus. "Юный натуралист", founded in 1928) was very popular in the USSR.
Young natural scientist club, rus. youny naturalist, Leningrad, USSR, 1978 | Masha Ivashintsova
Masha Ivashintsova "Chiaroscuro"
Juhan Kuus Documentary Photo Centre. Tallinn, Estonia 04.12.2019 - 01.03.2020. Photo Dmitry Ivashintsov
This is not just another story about Russia. It goes much deeper than that. Masha's story is a story of another human fate, which poses the question – who are we? A person's life does not start and end with them alone; every life is part of a larger whole. Non of us are completely self-contained, our lives tell a wider story. Each of us brings a unique gift to this world, but we are often too self-critical to recognise it. We are so set on achievement that we lose sight of who we are. Our lives would flourish like never before if we were prepared to share the treasures we have, rather than covet other people's. Here we simply want to show something which was hidden from view. Some people will be moved, others will simply walk past... everything is simple and straight-forward... Don't look for something which isn't here – everything is on the surface.
Masha Ivashintsova. Chiaroscuro
Leica IIIa was Masha's main camera that breaks down in 1990.
Leica IIIa. An instruction
Kodak
Mokhovaya street 16, in the yard. 1920s
Mokhovaya street 16, in the yard. 1920s
The pedigree of the old Russian noble family of the Ivashintsovs (rus. Ивашинцовы, Ивашенцовы, Ивашенцевы, Ивашинцевы) can be traced back to the 16th century.
Left photo: Nadezhda Ivashintsova, Masha's grandmother, 1913 or 1914. Right photo: Mummers. Lyudmila Ivashintsova, Masha's mother (third from left) with friends, 1932
Left photo: Nadezhda Ivashintsova, Masha's grandmother, 1913 or 1914. Right photo: Mummers. Lyudmila Ivashintsova, Masha's mother (third from left) with friends, 1932
Quite different and yet the same", thought Nikolai, looking at her face all lit up by the moonlight. He slipped his hands under the coat that covered her head, embraced her, pressed her to him, and kissed her on the lips, which had a mustache on them and smelled of burnt cork. Sonya kissed him right in the middle of the lips and, freeing her small hands, put them to his cheeks.
Leo Tolstoy. "War and Peace"
Carte Postale, "AS DE TREFLE"
Carnival. France. 1910s
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Rudolf Khachatryan, "Caravan-bashi", 1982 // Melvar Melkumyan, Moscow, USSR, 1979 (Masha's photography)
Rudolf Khachatryan, "Caravan-bashi", 1982 // Melvar Melkumyan, Moscow, USSR, 1979 (Masha's photography)
In the Soviet Union, a dead-end jobs (which were often employed by people who did not want to "march into the bright future of communism") had benefits. For example, janitors swept the yards early in the morning, and then had a lot of free time, often during their shift they were the full-fledged owners of the utility rooms. These rooms could suddenly turn into an exhibition hall or a music stage.

In 1976-1978 Masha worked as an elevator mechanic in the central district of Leningrad. This work paid off handsomely for the Man with a Camera.
Leningrad, USSR, 1976 | Masha Ivashintsova
Masha in the school, Leningrad, USSR, 1958
Unspoken Verses, 1993
Masha Ivashintsova "Unspoken Verses", 1993
Just a breath of fresh air,
It's close in here with all the people,
It's murky
from the suffocated dreams
about summer – with no children,
with the children –
like being swathed in cotton wool,
I stand here all wet…
A hospital ward
seems brighter,
when someone
in colourful robe
puts a bouquet of flowers
in the window…
It's not autumn yet,
but it's already dark.


Translated by Matthew Hyde, 2019
Dokfoto Keskus, Tallinn, Estonia
Printed by Printwise

Hand-painted and framed by Masha, 1976
Hand-painted and framed by Masha, 1976
Soviet photography vs Masha Ivashintsova
In the Soviet Union, any person with a camera was perceived as a potential spy. All industrial facilities, railway stations, metro stations, trains, rooftops were considered «strategic objects». Almost all photographers who were shooting in the city, and especially shooting city's courtyards, sooner or later found themselves locked inside the police station. But Masha always managed to remain invisible.

Image: Official Soviet photography — L. Ruikas «May There Always Be Sunshine» (Journal «Soviet Photo», 1978) vs Masha Ivashintsova (Leningrad, 1978)
"We're going to pick potatoes". Lyudmila Ivashintsova, Masha's mother (left) with her friends. 1950s.
A theater was a true Masha's love. In 1965 she graduated from the theater studies faculty of the Leningrad State Institute of Theater, Music and Cinematography (rus. "LGITMIK"). In 1969 she graduated from the faculty of acting and directing. After a while, she became a freelance reporter for the "Teatr" magazine, the main Soviet magazine of theatrical life.
"Peer Gynt". Riga, Latvian SSR. February, 1980 | Masha Ivashintsova
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Popular Soviet sweets
Popular Soviet sweets
Masha
Terijoki, August 1950
Masha. Terijoki, August 1950
The Red Hat, 1910
Alexander Fadeev
In December 1981, Masha was committed to a mental hospital for the first time. Over the next 10 years (with some interruptions), she becomes a patient of the Leningrad Mental Hospital No. 6.

In those years, many creative people ended up in mental hospitals (rus. derog. "психушка"). Their nature led them in one direction, but society cruelly insisted on its own laws. This situation gave rise to a natural duality of consciousness, which was precisely considered "unnatural". Confusion, sadness and loneliness led to deep depression, which was interpreted as schizophrenia and was treated with medication. People begged for love but were tortured instead.

This educational film for students of medical institutions (1971) shows the methods of treating mental illnesses that were relevant for that time (among other things, the procedure for an artificial glypoglycemic coma is shown in detail). In the comments to the video viewers ironically note that the speech of the madmen in this video looks much more meaningful than the speech of many modern popular broadcasters.
Therapy of menthal diseases
Masha's watercolor
Masha Ivashintsova, self-portrait. Lisy Nos, Leningrad, USSR, 1989
Masha Ivashintsova, self-portrait. Lisy Nos, Leningrad, USSR, 1989
One of the favorite Masha's writers and directors was Vasily Shukshin. Many of the characters in her pictures looks like a characters of Shukshin's films.
Belozersk, USSR, 1979 | Masha Ivashintsova
The room in the "kommunalka" on Mokhovaya Street 20, where Masha lived with her grandmother and mother from early childhood until 1966. Left: 1957. Right: Masha and Melvar, the first year of family life. March, 1965. Both photos were taken by Masha's mother.
Mokhovaya street 20
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Masha's Leica finally breaks down in 1990. Favorite camera went away with the collapsed Soviet empire.
"Democracy through multi-party system". Leningrad, USSR, May 1, 1989 | Masha Ivashintsova
left: Mstislav Dobuzhinsky (1875-1957)
right: Masha
 Mstislav Dobuzhinsky (1875-1957)
Of course, I've already photographed, I wanted to take a closer look at the city. There are old houses here. They have carved patterns, tiny windows - but all this is slowly becoming a thing of the past, this wooden Vologda cannot be preserved. So I'm trying to capture something for memory.
Masha to Asya. Vologda, July 17, 1979
Vologda, USSR, 1979 | Masha Ivashintsova
Vologda, USSR, 1979 | Masha Ivashintsova
Vologda, USSR, 1979 | Masha Ivashintsova
Asya, Masha's daughter​, Leningrad, USSR, 1968
Asya, Masha's daughter, Leningrad, USSR, 1968 | Masha Ivashintsova
Nadezhda Ivashintsova, Masha's grandmother (left). Tambov province​, 1905
Nadezhda Ivashintsova, Masha's grandmother (left). Russian Empire, Tambov province, 1905
"Soviet Photo" was the main specialist photography magazine in the Soviet Union.
The Internet Archive hosts scanned copies of most "Soviet Photo" issues.
People are like a closet... Closed. But inside are full of all sorts of things
People are like a closet... Closed. But inside are full of all sorts of things
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Masha's Exhibition, Tallinn, Estonia
Home development and printing of color films has always been difficult and costly. Here is one of the few color Masha's shots.
Finlyandsky station. Leningrad, USSR, 1986 | Masha Ivashintsova [color negative film]
"Useful Advice", 1959
Soviet YouTube
The very first film – shot by Masha during a trip to Odessa, Sevastopol and Chersonesus in the summer of 1962 – turned into a pdf-book. From this link you can download the mobile version of the book for free.