Prison Photography

Maj-Daylight-AlmondGarden-023-72

NO BARS, NO GAURDS, NO LOCKS

Tattered lace curtains, taped family photos, patterned carpets, plastic flowers and snappy fabrics. Gabriela Maj’s portraits from the series Almond Garden have all the chirpy, easy-to-patronize details of portraiture from a former Soviet controlled region. Lost you already? Think of Sergey Poteryaev’s portraits, Rafal Milach’s Winners in Belarus, Olya Ivanova’s portraits of young girls in rural Russia or anything by Sasha Rudensky. More directly consider the backdrops photographed by Lucia Ganieva.

(As much as I hate top-loading an article with links to a host of other photographers, I must because before we can understand how special and different Maj’s work is, we must appreciate the en vogue photo practices from which it emerges and above which it must rise.)

For the moderately trained eye, Maj’s work is obviously anchored within a super-region that still carries the visual culture of its immediate…

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