New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Black Eye at Andrea Meislin
Michal Chelbin
The Black Eye
Michal Chelbin, “Hold, Ukraine”, 2006

In this latest photography series, The Black Eye, Michal Chelbin explores contrasting themes of youth and adulthood, power and delicacy, toughness and tenderness. Her subjects, young athletes and wrestlers, serve as the perfect models to explore her dueling themes.

Visually stunning, Chelbin’s portraits capture adolescence stages as each figure radiates the conflicts that come from entering the rites of passage to adulthood. In Red Faced Boy, a young blond boy with calm blues eyes and bright cherry cheeks holds your gaze and carries a stance that is somewhere in between confrontation and resignation. It’s only then you notice his hairless torso that his baby face betrays his conceit. In another photo, titled Hold, Ukraine, two boys in red singlets are in a grappling hold, looking at the viewer, as if demonstrating what they have learned to an audience.

Portrait after portrait you get a sense of what is possibly the highlight of the day for these young people. The purity of their gaze is complementary to the oversized prints and saturation of the colors. Chelbin’s focused camera and trained eye have created a beautiful and lingering series, exposing the contradictions between the “person and the persona.”

Michal Chelbin
The Black Eye

Andrea Meislin
526 W 26th St. 2nd Fl
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Tuesday, September 28 to
Saturday, November 6, 2010
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