“In 2006 while visiting the Ukraine, I passed along a high brick wall. Next to it stood two men. Our eyes crossed and I can still remember their eyes today- they expressed this mesmerizing human blend of fear and cruelty. I was later told this was a men’s prison and from that moment I wanted to see what was inside.” – Michal Chelbin 1
Sailboats and Swans is a series of portraits by photographer Michal Chelbin, depicting inmates housed at Russian and Ukrainian prisons. The project was completed over the course of six years and is available as a monograph from Twin Palms Publishing.
Many the individuals pictured were incarcerated for committing murder, rape, assault. Chelbin made a point of not asking them about their crimes until after the photo session was over: “I did not want to be influenced by the knowledge of what he or she did. I was only interested in his gaze and in unfolding a complicated scene for the viewer.” 2
-Read more of Chelbin’s compelling account of this project at INSTITUTE.
-Purchase the monograph at Twin Palms Publishing.
-Keep up with Michal Chelbin at Michalchelbin.com.
1,2 Source: INSTITUTE