The Matadors

Michal Chelbin


The images in this series were taken in several schools for matadors in Spain, mostly around Seville and Madrid.

Ages of the students in these schools run from 7 to 17, with some even older. They practice everyday afternoon, while in the morning attended regular school or high school. Most of the students are boys but there are also girls who learn to be matadors.

Several elements that appeared in my previous works fascinated me into creating this body of work. First are the contrasts.

Matadors today are associated with violence and cruelty, but when I meet them, I find them to be fragile, weak, gentle and feminine. This human contrast, the ability to be two so diffident things at the same time, fascinates me.

In the ring we see the matadors from a distance, dressed with shiny beautiful outfits but these outfits also come in contrast to the defenseless gaze of the sitter. The outfits or rather uniforms is connected to another element, that of "performance". Especially youth in uniform, is expected to perform a certain role society has created, usually a role that is designed for a more mature age. They are trained to perform a role of preserving an old conservative practice; they do so with rituals and costumes. and this tension between traditional and modern interest me too.

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  • Young Matadors, Spain 2018

  • Young Matadors, Spain 2018

  • Raul, Spain 2018

  • Alvaro, Christian and Francisco, Spain 2018

  • Alejandro, Spain 2018

  • Angel_Spain 2018

  • Antonio, Spain 2018

  • Aitana, Spain 2018

  • Javier and a Friend, Spain 2018

  • Manuel and Manuel, Spain 2018

  • Young Matadors in the Bush, Spain 2018

  • Miguel, Spain 2018

  • Joanjo, Spain 2018

  • Christian, Spain 2018