Looking from the outside in - people, place and practice

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Capturing prison life

In a Romanian prison for women, inmates were given six Canon PowerShot cameras. They subsequently took over 14,000 photos during the first two months! Were the cameras a source of entertainment, a means to rehabilitate themselves, or maybe a kind of escapism for these women?

The women seem to depend on each other and share a lot, be it by plucking each other's eyebrows, sharing cigarettes, being lovers, etc.  Just like any other institution, especially where they are living for an extended period of time, people start to depend on that institution; of course, here we think of the Foucauldian institution - be it a prison, a clinic or an old-age home. 

How is reality produced within such a space for these women, and how do they start to recreate this reality once they get outside the prison walls and try to live their lives?


These photos made me think about what Morgan Freeman's character Red said about prison walls in The Shawshank Redemption

"First you hate 'em. Then you get used to 'em. After long enough, you get so you depend on 'em. That's institutionalized." 

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