Monday, November 17, 2014

One-on-one / An exclusive interview wiht Israeli photographer Michal Chelbin

Foto de Michal Chelbin

One-on-One: An exclusive interview with Israeli photographer Michal Chelbin
Tuesday, 4.11.2014 | by: Tanya Loss

Featured in both public and private collections worldwide, Israeli photographer Michal Chelbin has exhibited in renowned museums such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Tel Aviv Museum. A regular contributor to the New York Times, GQ, The New Yorker and more, Chelbin has also published three books and is critically-acclaimed for her work.

This talented and inspirational Israeli will be featuring some of her images at this year’s Fresh Paint Contemporary Art Fair.

How long have you been in the industry?

“I have been into photography for a long time now. I started to get into photography when I was 15, then I studied at an art high school. I also photographed while I was in the IDF, and after that studied for four years in college.”

What draws you to the work that you do and the subjects in your work?

“It depends on what series I am working on. Most of my work is portraits, and usually I am looking for a contrast. For example, in my prison body of works, I went to six or seven prisons in Russia and Ukraine. There are a lot of contradictions between how people look and their crimes. There is something in my work that repeats itself. It’s the contradiction between everyday life and glamour, or some kind of contrast. And of course people draw me in.”

I’m sure you get this question a lot, but we want to know what inspires you and drives you.

“People drive me. My inspiration comes from the history of art, from great masters like Caravaggio and Velasquez, the history of photography, and photographers like Diane Arbus; also a lot of paintings inspire me. In the past, I have looked into my family archives. My father was originally from Ukraine and a holocaust survivor. My whole family passed in the holocaust except for him and my grandmother. There are still a lot of photographs of my late family but we don’t know who they were. I remember as a teenager being interested in who they were and how they posed in these photographs.”

What message do you try to send through your photography?

“I think my message is that everyone is important, and everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame. It doesn’t matter if the subject is a prisoner, everyone wants to be remembered. When the subjects are looking at you in my photographs, I think you can find yourself in them.

What will you be featuring at Fresh Paint this year?

“There will be a selection from my previous work and from my new work–it will be a mix of both. I will also have a video installation that I recently started to work on. My most recent book, ‘Sailboats and Swans,’ as well as my ‘Strangely Familiar’ book will be at the fair. Some of the photographs from the prison series I worked on will be featured as well.”

What do you have in mind for your future work?

“I am currently working on a video installation, which is a series of videos. I’m also continuing a portrait series, but they are still in the beginning stages.”

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