MICHAL CHELBIN
Photographs

July 15 through September 4, 2004
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 15, 7-9 p.m.

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present the work of photographer Michal Chelbin in her first West Coast exhibition. The black and white photographs are selections from a body of new work, as well as popular images from her past work. Chelbin discovered her subjects by roaming the carnivals and circus tents of Israel and Europe. Traditionally closed to outsiders, a circus performer, Lazarova, opened the door for the artist to witness the odd and peculiar life of these subjects. Chelbin says, " In my work, I am drawn by fantasy and fantastic elements in a realistic environment. My images almost always involve people, usually in the form of portraits.

Michal Chelbin captures the intensity of the human spirit in a subtle and subdued manner. The black and white format allows her to record her subjects without embellishment and they are almost always photographed by natural light. The images are passionate and sympathetic. Chelbin says, "I like to photograph people in their close and familiar environment where they can pose comfortably and bring to the image something of their own." Chelbin's portraits allow the viewer to witness a seemingly private moment, one where they are not performing or on stage. Yet even in these moments, the subjects are aware of the camera, and potentially an audience. Chelbin describes, "Intimacy is so important in portraiture, and it helps me achieve a sense of casualness in my work, which is mostly staged."

Michal Chelbin was born and raised in Israel. After high school, she served as a photographer in the Israel Defense Force spokesman unit. After her military service, she worked as a photographer for several newspapers in Israel. In 2001, she graduated with honors from Wizo College of Art and Design in Haifa, Israel. Her work has been exhibited in Israel and Europe and is part of the permanent collection of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel.