Bettina Rheims’s book Détenues takes us across the threshold of four different detention centers in France. The photographer answered the essayist Robert Badinter’s “call to go to prison.” She spent an entire winter there, staying at nearby hotels. While in the nineteenth century prisons were constructed in city centers, nowadays they are located in the countryside, away from human gaze, outside society. They are difficult to access, both materially and administratively. Unusually, prison administration collaborated with the photographer, appreciated her work, and gave her carte blanche.
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