Irina Popova [notes]

Popova, I., (2015) Irina Popova Another Family. [online]. Lens Culture. Available from: [Accessed on 2nd December 2015, at 15:18].

Irina Popova met Lilya outside a famous underground club near Saint Petersburg. When Lilya was asked if she wanted to be photographed she obliged and even invited Popova into her home, which was a small communal flat full of “strange smells and drunk people”. She met Lilyas boyfriend Pasha, nicknamed “dandelion” because of his curly hair.

“Their room seemed more like a cyber-punk club rather than a living space.”

Lilya daughter Anfisa, was let to roam around the room touching all sorts of things that hadn’t been cleaned up, and occasionally dragged away by her mother.

“Everything that happened there reminded me of a nightmare and it was difficult to remember afterwards how it really was.”

They were described as “living in darkness”. They always had thick curtains. They would go onto the streets only to ask for some money for cheap alcohol, as they couldn’t buy any drugs.

Anfisa was with them all the time. “looking at all this with wide-open eyes, tried to touch and taste everything.”

Popova said that “they fed her expensive artificial milk, dragged her away from dangerous things, changed her diapers and said “Anfisa stop. Anfisa, go to sleep!””

Lilya and Pasha had met year years earlier. She had initially dreamt of becoming a porn actress or model but never did. She was proud that for nine months she hadn’t used any drugs and only smoke marijuana, which in her opinion was good for the baby. She had also admitted that she has a few sexually-transmitted diseases, that she hoped wouldn’t pass onto Anfisa.

Pasha’s parents sometimes helped them by looking after Anfisa occasionally and would give some money.

Lilya, Pasha and Anfisa visited the exhibition opening in Saint Petersburg. “They had a good laugh about themselves in the pictures and couldn’t even believe that someone would accuse them of anything wrong.” “The viewers also didn’t react at all”

Issues and controversy arose when the pictures were published on the internet. The parents were accused of a bad attitude towards their daughter. Popova was accused of indifference”my caption that there can be also love and affection in such families caused even more hysteria.”

Someone had even contacted the police with the intention to take the girl from her family and put her into an orphanage.

After the images had been published Popova visited the family a few times. They still followed the same lifestyle and still used drugs, but were described as living a rather bright and artistic lives and still took care of Anfisa.

After that Lilya had left the family. Pasha took Anfisa to kindergarten and he does some cheap-paid work.

“She only has more serious eyes that all the other children of her age.”

Pasha had began took look more and more miserable and aggressive and doesn’t want to have any further contact with people concerned about the future of his family.

Lens culture is well know for distributing artists (online and in magazines) so I see this source as very reliable, if they has any misinformation they would know and change it. Their purpose is to show the artists to the world, so they are unbiased, they don’t takes sides ethically they just demonstrate what they know about the artists and their work.

Dovas., (2015). The Life of a 2-Year-Old Girl Growing Up With Drug-Addict Parents. [online] Bored Panda. Available from: [Accessed on 2nd December 2015, at 15:28].

“Is the photographer an impartial observer and communicator of truth, or must she, as a human being, intervene in the little girl’s life?”

The series started when Popova ran into Anfisa mother int the streets of Saint Petersburg in 2008.

“The raw and provocative images speak both of dangerous negligence and of enduring familial love – sometimes in the same image.”

The article seems too casual, and appears biased, as their title wants to draw people in by calling the subjects of the project “Growing up with drug-addict parents” instantly showing these people in a negative light, which I don’t think is a professional way to talk about art.


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