Inside in France

Like me you probably missed the show Prisons: 2011 – 2014 by Grégoire Korganow which was at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP) from Feb 4th-May 4th, 2015. I’ve been just too busy to go over to Paris for a while, much though I would like to.

In 2010, Korganow was working in French prisons on the making of a doucmentary film about the man in charge of them, Jean Marie Delarue, The Comptroller General of Places of Deprivation of Liberty (CGPL). At the end of the filming, Delarue asked him if he would photograph the French prison system, and Korganaw had the unique opportunity to work in twenty prisons, spending 5-10 days in each of them over the next three years.

Korganow was made an ‘inspector of prisons‘ and he writes on his web site “I’m able to photograph everything; the inside of the cells, the exercise yard, the visiting rooms, showers, the ‘cooler’ (solitary confinement unit)… Day and night. I have access to all areas.”

As Pete Brook writes: “Korganow has made the most of his phenomenal access producing an unrivaled and varied of body of work about the French prisons.” It really does seem to be a remarkable study. As well as the exhibition, there is also a book, Prisons-67065 (the number is the total of prisoners in French prisons on Jan 1st, 2014), with 432 pages (ISBN-13 979-10-92388-05-3) which I’ve not seen. It seems to be a relatively small format but rather fat book from the dimensions on the publishers page of 17 x 22.5 x 5.2 cm and its weight of three and a quarter pounds. I can’t see anywhere the number of photographs it contains.

I read about the show on Pete Brook’s Prison Photography site, and the same feature, with larger illustrations is also on Vantage, which seems a site well worth looking at.  On its ‘About’ page it reveals simply “We are fans of photography” but then goes on to list an impressive list of editors and writers including of course Pete Brook, but also a number of other names I recognise.

Vantage is a part of Medium, which is a kind of publishing network and looks very interesting – you can find out more about it in Ten reasons why I love writing on Medium. If I didn’t already have too many other things to do I might be thinking about using it.


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