Prisoners Throughout Russia And Ukraine

“Three years ago, while visiting the Ukraine, I passed along a high brick wall,” Chelbin told me. “Next to it stood two men. Our eyes met, and I can still remember theirs 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.”
“When I was eventually allowed to take portraits inside the prison,  I decided to ask the subjects about their crimes only after we had finished the photo session. I did not want to be influenced by the knowledge of what he or she did,” Chelbin said. “When I record a scene, my aim is to create a mixture of plain information and riddles, so that not everything is resolved in the image. Who is this person? Why is he dressed like this? What does it mean to be locked up? Is it a human act? Is it fair? Do we punish him with our eyes? Can we guess what a person’s crime is just by looking at his portrait? Is it human to be weak and murderous at the same time? My intentions are to confuse the viewer and to confront him with these questions, which are the same questions with which I myself still struggle.”

Read The full Article On Israeli Lens Magazine Issue#7 Portrait Photography

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