Enter into the visual information by sharing photographers’ unique views on detention. These photographers show their commitment by offering us their portfolios.
As a documentary photographer, I am used to being impartial and telling
an unbiased story but I found negotiating my visits to prisons
I have photographed officers, governors, prisoners and their families. It is important that I am able to connect with all these different groups (who often have strong opinions about the other!) and that they view me as trustworthy and neutral so they can relax and be natural around me. I think this is especially tricky in prison situations where most people seem to have their ‘guard up’, but I find it extremely rewarding to be able to break through this.
I enjoy working in prisons because, unlike in the outside world, most people are not in a rush and have time to spend talking with me. This enables me to create an image that reflects their true personality.
While everyone’s story is different, there are often are reoccurring themes relating to poverty, inequalities and abuse. The more time I have spent in prisons, hearing these stories, the more passionate I have become about showing the outside world what life is really like within the closed world of the prison system in a truthful and unglamorous way.
I find it ironic that despite the prison system being state funded, there is very little public awareness of what the system is really like and thats partly because there is a lack of honest dialogue in the outside world.
Documentary photographer Andrew Aitchison has been working in the UK prison sector for over 10 years and has visited over 20 British prisons working with the UK’s leading criminal justice organisations. Recently he’s been working closely with staff and prisoners, focussing on family relations and the reality of life behind bars and those affected most.