— 1955 was a time of much stress between the USSR and USA. I felt that both sides needed a more humanized view of each other for things to get better. There was very little in the American media to bring us closer to the people of the USSR. These photographs got us walking along with these ordinary Russians and allowed us to feel what it might be like to be one of them. Thus helping to break through barriers that the media had set up. The same is true for these two Russian girls in their backyard, designing a house–they could be our own children.
Albert Maysles is a pioneer of Direct Cinema who, along with his brother David, was the first to make nonfiction feature films (GIMME SHELTER, SALESMAN, GREY GARDENS) where the drama of life unfolds as is, without scripts, sets, interviews or narration. With his first film, PSYCHIATRY IN RUSSIA (1955) he made the transition from psychologist to documentary filmmaker. In 1960 he served as co-filmmaker of PRIMARY. His numerous films include WHAT’S HAPPENING? THE BEATLES IN THE USA (1964), MEET MARLON BRANDO (1965), five films of the projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude (1973 to 1994), and recently a sixth, THE GATES (2007), as well as four documentaries for HBO. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1965), a Peabody, an Emmy, and five Lifetime Achievement Awards. He won the award for best cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival (2002) for LALEE’S KIN: THE LEGACY OF COTTON, which was also nominated in 2001 for an Academy Award. Albert received the Columbia Dupont Award in 2004. Eastman Kodak has saluted him as one of the world’s 100 finest cinematographers.