It all started the night photographer Irina Popova saw Lilya in the street with her baby at 2am. Popova, who was looking for a new creative venture, asked if she could take a shot of mother and daughter. From there, Popova was invited back to their home to take more photos. What the artist found in that little apartment was shocking.
Lilya and Pasha, parents of Anfisa (who was two years old at the time the photos were taken in 2008) both struggled with substance abuse. Their lives revolved around partying and abusing drugs and alcohol. Their child was left to wander the apartment as her parents slept off their binges. Popova spent two weeks with the family, documenting the chaos of their lives.
She created the photo essay 'Another Family', which incited outrage among Russians who saw the photos. Surprisingly, the most backlash came against Popova, who was maligned for not stepping in and reporting what she saw to the authorities.
What Popova should or shouldn't have done is irrelevant at this point. The real question remains, how can a parent who professes to love their child let them live like this? Check out this selection from 'Another Family' and let us know what you think in the comments.
The first shot that began everything.
Anfisa and her parents
Pasha and a friend.
Anfisa scrambles up on the window ledge (unseen: a safety net).
Anfisa plays with her mother's cigarettes.
Pasha and Lilya.
Lilya and Anfisa in the park.
Pasha kissing his daughter's feet.
Anfisa at school. These days, Pasha raises his daughter along with his new partner and her son. Lilya is no longer a part of the family, but both have sought help for their substance abuse issues.