100 Years old Mary

First time I made a portrait of Maria Blumfeld in 2010, while creating a project about Second World War veterans. After 6 years in 2016 I was invited to be a guest on her 100 years old birthday celebration. Maria was born in the days of Imperial Russia, lived in the USSR, and now lived nowadays. Maria was one of the first pioneers of Soviet Union. That is why for her 100-th birthday every guest put on a pioneer's red tie. During the Second World War she was a part of secret group, had a fictional name, working on a plant. After war ends she continues working with children, including on VDNKH - in the pavilion of the Young naturalist and engineer.

In 2019 when Maria was 103 we met again. Maria was an impressive person, who keeping through all her long life - a great love and gratitude for life. Truly curiosity for everything new and a love for life - that's what you can feel while personal communication with her.

She tells: "I always had three main rules in my life. First: To see only good in people, then you will haven't got enemies. Second: To set your own goals and always to achieve them. Third: Never to betray anybody, and be faithful friend and son for your parents and your country".

She was living with her daughter who takes care of her a lot. Maria was gone in January 2021 in case of COVID-19. When she was 104 she took part in popular show on central TV - Russian version of Wheel of fortune. To the last days she was spreading optimism and shared her love for life.

Maria says: "Everybody praise me, telling about exploits and achievements. But I think, I didn't do something extraordinary. I just lived".

Works from this project was selected as Best of and published on PHOTOVOGUE (photovogue.vogue.com)

2016, 2019 Digital photography