Yet another mental health #fail…

“They lose track of what they used to be, because they have no guarantee that they will ever be allowed to become that person again.”

The ever interesting Pete Brook sent me over a link to this fascinating and rather depressing story…(sorry…don’t shoot the messenger)…Italian asylums for the criminally insane, by (ex duckrabbit student) Valentina Quintano. The interview, for me, is rather more interesting than the images, which are not really ‘doing it’ for me…I feel like I’ve seen them before, when I haven’t… but no matter, I still learned something.

“Most of the people jailed in such institutions are not considered dangerous anymore but there are no structures to host them and help them to be introduced back into society, so they are just left there. In many cases until they leave in a black bag.”

Thanks Valentina, thanks Pete.

To read a great interview with Mr.P Brook himself, get yersen over here.

Discussion (3 Comments)

  1. Pete Brook says:

    It’s true that these (and many other PJ images) cannot describe the nuance of complex situations. Valentina provides a lengthy text intro to the series on her website, and we conspire here to give the images a context – albeit a depressing, abusive and entrapped context. If images can be a hook, then …

  2. Well, photography is a very limited medium. Of course no photographer could visualise the complexities of such a situation, which is why the interview and the text on Valentina’s site is so important. I wish more photographers (especially photoJOURNALISTS) would give us such written contexts. I’m just a bit bored tbh with seeing grainy mono images from such places, but that’s just me, and that opinion is not meant to be a reflection on the importance of Valentina’s work.

  3. Eye-opening indeed. In 1997 I was doing an MA in Design, we had to do a paper on how to design a prison complex. The whole class (multi-disciplinary designers) debated on whether we should put a window with a ‘nice’ view, or ‘punishing’ view for the prisoners. Back then we had limited access to visual documents on prison photography to inform our projects. This is why Pete’s research and the photographers’ works are very important. It is still an ongoing debate. Here’s an interesting article on NYT “Rethinking Prison Design” (2009)

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