Nostalgia with Michal Chelbin
Michal Chelbin was born, raised, and educated in Haifa, Israel. In this photograph, entitled “Alicai, Ukraine, 2005,” Chelbin captures the backward glance of a girl being driven away. The composition of the light plays into the narrative of the photograph, illuminating the child in direct contrast to the shadowy driver. Who the man is and where he is taking the girl is unknown – only a deviously strewn darkness suggests his casting as the villain.
The color composition of the photograph draws attention to the matching blue of the girl’s eyes and the car. With a background of a mundane and colorless sky, the matching blue seems to show how the girl is perfectly paired with her environment. The construct of a blue-eyed girl in a blue car being driven away on a rainy day evokes a perfect sense of melancholy. The color of the photograph serves as visible manifestation of the girl’s disappointment at being whisked away.
The peculiar angle of the image and direct visual contact with the girl also suggests that the onlooker is a key subject. It is us who the girl in the image is not ready to leave. Whereas we can revel in admiration of this image, content to halt time, the girl cannot. She jealously realizes that while we may live in this moment forever, she has no choice but to drive off to her future.
What do you think of this image?