When you think of gallery guards that patrol museums and make sure that no one pokes holes in or sticks chewing gum on national treasures, you immediately imagine a person in uniform.
You come up with this image, because if you live in the U.S, the UK or in fact most places in the world, those designated to safeguard valuable items usually do maraud in uniform.
In Russia though, things are a little bit different, the majority of the people who protect precious works are retired women, who are not required to wear any kind of identifying uniform. Photographer Andy Freeberg, was so intrigued by the site of these women sat beside these revered artworks that he created a project that captures these women at work.
The project is entitled “Guardians of Russian Art Museums” and whilst carrying it out Freeberg spoke to several of the women to find out their motivations. He discovered that many of them were retired professionals, a former dentist, economist, archivist and actress were just some of the professions previously assumed by the Guardians.
Many of them do the job because they like to be surrounded by the art that they love so much, whereas others do it because it keeps them occupied and stops them being tempted to moan about the trappings of old age.
Some women would rotate what areas of the gallery they protected, whereas others would always choose to sit beside their favorite pieces.
Freeberg said: “When you look at the paintings and sculptures, the presence of the women becomes an inherent part of viewing the artwork itself.”
Website: Andy Freeberg