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Monday, 2 March 2009

Prison Photography and Stephen Tourlentes

Prison has featured heavily in the history of photography ( images of the Maze, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Carl de Keyzer's Zona are just a few more recent examples ) while Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon is a staple of photographic debates on seeing and surveillance.

So it's only fitting that there is now a Prison Photography blog. On the blog, Pete Brook gives this interview with Stephen Tourlentes. In Pete's own words.

"Stephen Tourlentes photographs prisons only at night for it is then they change the horizon. Tourlentes depicts the spectres of society’s fears. Division and fear contributed to America’s rapid prison growth; the light-sources of Tourlentes’ haunting works are metaphors of psycho-social fears, ignorance and denial. Tourlentes’ prisons are our collective bogeyman. His subjects lurk.

Tourlentes’ prisons glow in (and encroach upon) our otherwise ’safe’ environments. They buzz with the constant feedback of our carceral system. They are the afterglow of a collective & captive menace ever reminding us of its presence.

Designed as closed systems, prisons illuminate the night and the world that built them purposefully outside of its boundaries."

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