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Maxence Rifflet : Our Prisons


The space in which a prisoner is constrained constitutes the reality of his sentence. However the architecture of prisons is incredibly diverse. I wanted to see what it is like: photographing prisons rather than prison. Between April 2016 and January 2018, I photographed in six prisons in collaboration with prisoners. Prison architecture is an optical machine at the service of surveillance. What the supervisor sees, what the prisoner does not see from his cell or the passer-by from the street, all this is planned by the architect. Taking pictures in prison is like participating in a constrained and uneven look. By taking an interest in architecture, I put this difficulty at the center of my photographic work. How to photograph in a surveillance system? In each prison, I organized workshops to share this question with prisoners, they who are confronted daily to these architectures. We took photographs together, I did some alone, we discussed both the prison and our images, we made images over again, and so on. I have proposed practices but I also willingly laissez faire: some used...

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