Some of these photos look like stills from a Wes Anderson movie, with their perfect color combinations and stable, classic framing. However, they”re actually the work of photographer Andy Freeberg, who was struck by something he once saw: innocuous elderly women sitting alongside classical works of art in museums across Russia.

Nesterovs Blessed St Sergius of Radonezh, Russian State Museum

Malevichs Self Portrait, Russian State Museum

In other museums around the world, museum guards are typical security guards in uniform, standing at attention to help visitors find their way and to make sure curious hands are kept off the artwork. In Russia, however, the job of watching over the exhibits and the patrons often falls to older women who sit, rather than stand, and keep a lookout. Freeberg traveled to various museums and talked with the women about their jobs.

Most of them take great pride in their work, and enjoy being among historic works of art, as well as among the people who come in and out of the museums each day. One woman enjoys being in Moscows State Tretyakov Gallery Museum so much that she even comes in on her days off, just to sit by a painting that reminds her of her childhood home. Another woman says that working in the museum keeps her active and cheerful, saying that without the job, she”d just sit on her porch and complain.

Veroneses Adoration of the Shepherds, Hermitage Museum

Konchalovskys Family Portrait, State Tretyakov Gallery

Matisse Still Life, Hermitage Museum

Michelangelos Moses and the Dying Slave, Pushkin Museum

As far as the photos are concerned, Freeberg managed to capture the women”s love for their jobs, as well as the peaceful environment of their museums. The women”s clothing and poses subtly mirror the art they sit next to, suggesting that, like the artwork, they, too are part of the museum”s landscape as valuable guardians of history.

2nd Century Mummy Masks, Pushkin Museum

Altmans Portrait of I.P. Degas, State Tretyakov Gallery

Rublev and Daniils The Deesis Tier, State Tretyakov Gallery

Repins Portrait of Baroness von Hildenbandt, State Tretyakov Gallery

Statues of Antonius Pius, Youth and Caryatid, Hermitage Museum

Stroganov Palace, Russian State Museum

More of Freeberg”s work can be found on his website, where you can also see his other photographic work dealing with art spaces and the way art is collected, displayed and consumed, as well as the people behind the art centers around the world.

Via Feature Shoot