Andy Freeberg works where people interact with art. Guardians follows up on his previous photographs of reception desks at Chelsea galleries (Sentry) and art fair booths (Art Fare). This time, he aims his camera at the retired women guarding Russia's national art treasures.
"Unable to separate his experience of the art from his experience of the place – an environment so deeply impacted by the presence of the women – Freeberg took out his camera. (...)
The photographs invite the viewer to enjoy the museums as he did – taking in not only the painting or sculpture, but also the relationship between the work of art and its guardian."
The images convey a sense of great admiration for these women, as though their work is not a job but a duty. Their poses often unconsciously mimic the surrounding scenes of gods, heroes, and history's most important figures, giving them an aura of grandeur and agelessness. Through an interpreter, Freeberg learned that the women love their work, telling him about the long distances they travel or how they visit the museum even on their days off, and that they feel great pride in guarding important pieces of Russian history.Guardians also reminds us to pay attention to the details and see beyond what we're supposed to be looking at.Andrea Meislin