Sergey Melnitchenko (b. 1991, Ukraine) presents his new series Schwarzenegger is My Idol, showing the male youth of Nikolaev, Ukraine as they push towards their physical goals of being the best of the best. Collected in diptychs with characteristic scenes from the gym, showing photos of idols on dilapidated walls and equipment that both embodies and assists in their pursuit of physical strength, the images of the young men appear simultaneously serious and ridiculous. The deadpan portrayal of their nudity adds a rare element to the photos, offering a seemingly unself-conscious vision into the world of these young men.
When Melnitchenko asked one of the young bodybuilders what role fitness played in his life, he answered, "For me, my sport is what I live for. Daily control and hard work - that leads me to success. Sport disciplines a man, enables him to understand the value of labor, the value of choice. I always wanted to be something more than an ordinary man in the street, more colossal than an ordinary representative of the society, so in my sport I do all the best I can, because I want to reach the top".