Michal Chelbin, "Magamed Russia," 2007. Chromogenic print; 37 x 37 in.

Michal Chelbin, Magamed Russia, 2007. Chromogenic print; 37 x 37 in.

Chelbin took this portrait in 2007, while shooting in a wrestling club in The Ukraine. The young wrestler has just finished a hard training session. He is not looking at the camera but his gaze seems to be so focused that he appears to be in a state of hypnosis. He looks alert, ready to act, yet almost unaware of the camera. It is a moment of surrender. Like many of Chelbin’s photographs, it carries a strange, enigmatic feeling and conveys seemingly contradictorycharacteristics, such as youth and manhood, strength and weakness, masculinity and femininity, and tenderness and brutality.

This portrait is included in Chelbin’s monograph The Black Eye, which was published in the fall of 2009 by Twin Palms Publishers.

Danny First, Contemporary Art Collector

Further Reading