Masha Ivashintsova (1942-2000) was a photographic genius who was heavily involved in the Leningrad poetic and photography underground movement of the 60s to 90s. She was the lover of three of the hailed artistic personalities of the time, including linguist Melvar Melkumyan whom she had a daughter with, Asya.

Masha was an avid photographer who captured the captivating period of time through the lens of her Rolleiflex and Leica cameras, but never showed her work to anyone, believing her talents unworthy compared to those of her lovers. It was only 17 years after her death that Asya discovered a box of Masha’s undeveloped films in their attic, totalling to over 30,000 negatives. Based from the images below, it is clear that Masha underestimated her amazing gift for photography. Today, the world celebrates her talents, paying her the recognition she so well deserves.

Images © Masha Ivashintsova with permission by Asya Ivashintsova-Melkumyan

Leningrad, USSR, 1974 | Masha Ivashintsova with her lover, Photographer Boris Smelov

Leningrad, USSR, 1977

Melvar Melkumyan, husband and father, Moscow, USSR, 1983

Melvar Melkumyan, Moscow, USSR, 1979

Leningrad, USSR, 1985

Vologda, USSR, 1979

Viktor Krivulin, Yalta, Crimea, 1979

Moscow, USSR, 1976

Leningrad, USSR, 1980

Viktor Krivulin, Novolukoml, Byelorussian SSR, 1979

Marta, Leningrad, USSR, 1978

Nevsky Prospekt, Leningrad, USSR, 1975

Boris Smelov, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 1993

Village near lake Sevan, Armenia, 1976

Masha Ivashintsova