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Russian photographer Irina Popova has stirred waves of controversy with her “Another Family” photo series, which delves into the life of a family living in the dark underbelly of modern Russia. She has captured the family life of little 2-year-old Anfisa and her drug-addict parents, raising a difficult question -  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 began when Popova ran into Anfisa’s mother Lila in the streets of St. Petersburg in 2008. Lila was totally drunk but had a baby in a stroller. Lila agreed enthusiastically when Popova asked her about doing a photo shoot and even invited the photographer back to her apartment, where she met Lila’s boyfriend Pasha and their daughter Anfisa. She spent two weeks in their terribly run-down and messy apartment, where the couple partied constantly.

The raw and provocative images speak both of dangerous negligence and of enduring familial love – sometimes in the same image. Some have been outraged by the parents’ negligence and have demanded that the girl be removed from her dangerous surroundings.

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