Michal Chelbin: How to Dance the Waltz
Michal Chelbin’s photographs of acrobats and traveling troupes in Eastern Europe have earned her wide acclaim. In this new body of work taken over the last five years, Chelbin trains her eye on students in military boarding schools, matador training academies, and teenagers in Ukraine preparing for their proms.
Chelbin explores the connection between the use of dress codes and uniforms to shape identity and instill traditional roles in boys and girls. Young cadets in formal military garb look fragile and sweet. Young women in oversized debutante dresses evoke an old glamour but also outdated views of women in society. This tension is at the heart of Chelbin’s photographs and gives them a deep power.