In her sympathetic pictures of performers and wrestlers from small towns in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, England, and Israel, Michal Chelbin offers a glimpse into worlds both strange and familiar. The settings, costumes, and even some of the subjects themselves may seem exotic, but her portraits look beyond that to capture a transcendent sense of individual character. Chelbins most frequent subjects are children and adolescents, yet her work encompasses a mix of generations.As Leah Ollman tes, the atmosphere falls somewhere between public and private. There's a slight titillation of having personal access to performers who, typically, are experienced only remotely. Most immediate, though, are the visual contrasts between young and old, large and small, incence and experience. The palette is intense, and intensely appealing, with a distinctive use of saturated pinks, blues, and greens. Chelbins black-and-white images, which are intermingled throughout the book, have an almost Pictorialist richness. Though her influences are evident - most tably August Sander and Diane Arbus - the compelling photographs in Strangely Familiar , Chelbins first mograph, have a unique visual and emotional impact.