Sailboats And Swans
Photographer: Michal Chelbin
Interview by: A.M. Homes
Publisher/Date: Twin Palms (c. 2012) First Edition, stated. Limited to 1,5000 copies.
Format/Condition: New oversized cloth hardcover book with dust jacket in Fine condition. 120 pages. Dimensions: 11.8 x 12.7 x 0.7 inches. Lavishly illustrated with full color photographs.
Description: Israeli Photographer Michal Chelbin spent three years photographing prisons in Russia and Ukraine. This book presents a striking collection of images that portray the strange and contradictory worlds of these institutions. Chelbin is always looking, drawing what is hidden to the surface.
What does prison look like? In book, Chelbin challenges viewers to re-imagine the answer to this question. Working with her husband and co-producer, Oded Plotnizki, Chelbin spent three years photographing prisons in Ukraine and Russia from 2008 to 2010.
The pair used a network of connections to gain incredibly rare access to these facilities. What they found inside surprised them. Instead of grey concrete and steel, there were tropical wallpapers, lace-covered tables and furniture painted in glossy blues and greens. The prisoners in Chelbin’s photographs are not dressed in orange jumpsuits, but the floral housedresses, cloth jackets and rubber sandals common to village life in the region. Religious icons seem as ubiquitous as tattoos.