Mary Gelman

Mary Gelman, Russia


M+T is an intimate look at the love story of Minya and Tatyana, a couple with Down syndrome living in Svetlana, Russia, a village built in 1994 to create opportunities for people with special needs to develop their social and professional skills. Minya and Tatyana met each other in this village and fell in love in 2015. The project is not only a love story but also wants to be a starting point to question the widespread stereotypes and prejudices against people with special needs in Russia.

The project combines images by the photographer and images taken by Tatyana and Minya with a Polaroid camera. “Tatyana takes pictures of what surrounds her and what she is interested in. I didn't interfere in the process and didn't control it. We are here as a team, where everyone has their own voice,” says the photographer.


Mary Gelman is a photojournalist based in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. In her projects, she combines a personal approach with documentary and conceptual practices. She mainly focuses on issues relating to gender and the body, boundary and identity, discrimination, and the human relationship with the environment.

Instagram: @marygelman

2020 Joop Swart Masterclass

For the first time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Joop Swart Masterclass took place online over a period of four months, and 24 participants and eight masters were selected to make the program more inclusive. The educational experience of the Joop Swart Masterclass is based on an assignment to produce a photo essay around a given theme. This year the theme was ‘Reset’.

From July to October 2020, the participants worked on their projects and received mentorship and guidance from the mentors.

Learn more about the 2020 Joop Swart Masterclass.