Strangely Familiar (signed edition)

Acrobats, Athletes, and Other Traveling Troupes: Signed

Photographs by Michal Chelbin. By Leah Ollman.


Limited quantities

In her sympathetic pictures of contortionists, dwarves, ballroom dancers and wrestlers from small towns in Israel, Ukraine, Eastern Europe and England, Michal Chelbin offers a glimpse into worlds both strange and familiar. Her subjects--usually individuals on society's margins--tend to be portrayed offstage, at home, on the street or in a park, and in a disarmingly direct engagement with the viewer: "My aim is to record a scene where there is a mixture of direct information and enigmas and in which there are visual contrasts between young and old, large and small, normal and abnormal," she writes. This sense of candid confrontation between subject and camera is particularly disarming when those subjects are prepubescent girls, whose bodies, as Chelbin puts it, "might be still that of a child, [but] their gazes sometimes imply differently." Chelbin's palette is intensely saturated with distinctive pinks, blues and greens, evoking a painterly atmosphere, even occasionally making explicit reference to art history. Though her influences are evident--most notably August Sander and Diane Arbus--the compelling photographs gathered in this first monograph have a unique visual and emotional impact.

Format: Hardback
Number of pages: 111
Publication date: 2008-04-01
Measurements: 9.74 x 11.26 x 0.67 inches
ISBN: 9781683950653

Photographs by Michal Chelbin. By Leah Ollman.

Born in Israel in1974, Michal Chelbin has lived in Brooklyn since 2006. Her work has appeared in solo shows in Israel, Los Angeles and New York, and in group shows internationally. Chelbin is represented by Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles and the Photographers’ Gallery in London.
“Leah Ollman is an art critic for The Los Angeles Times, a frequent contributor to Art in America, and the curator of Camera as Weapon: Worker Photography between the Wars. She lives in San Diego.”