German photographer Jurgen Chill‘s work is all about perspective. With a bird’s eye view, he takes us into German prisons cells — seemingly dark places — that actually don’t appear as dark and decrepit as one would imagine. Upon studying the photographs, viewers may be overcome with the uncomfortable and exhilarating feeling of falling into the rooms — rooms that are frankly kind of appealing when lacking inhabitants and movement. More photos, along with commentary from Chill, after the jump.
“My photographs are most like a map of the prison cells; like a Google Earth view of a landscape. I try to communicate information about the individuals that have to live in perhaps the smallest possible space for habitation that a person can have — without showing this person himself. Personal and functional items are all accommodated in the tightest space.”
“I’m interested in how a person arranges personal and functional items in their small cell. And what kind of person can it be [based upon the visible evidence]? Is it possible to get a ‘picture’ of a person by having a view of his private space? It’s a view and perspective that you normally would never get of these cells. So it is not really ‘real’, more a scenery set or something similar.”
“I had a short conversation with the prisoners in their cells; explained my project, my concept and my motivation. Some of them were really interested in my work and my kind of photography. The prisoners allowed me to spend about 45 minutes alone in their cells, while they are waited outside, in the alleyway, guarded by one or two persons from the prison.”
“After my work, for their permission to photograph and publish their private things and space, I gave them a small gift; a packet of coffee or cigarettes. Later I sent them all the photograph of their rooms. Some of them asked for it to have as a kind of souvenir for when they are released from prison.”
Chill’s more recent work goes inside of bordellos. Check that out here.
[via Prison Photography]