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Exhibition “the portuguese prison photo project”


Who has seen a prison from the inside? the portuguese prison photo project has taken up the challenge to provide insights into the prisons of Portugal. The result of this photographic project will be shown at the Museu de Portimão, the exhibition being part of the program for the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the April 25th Revolution. Contemporary pictures of Portuguese prisons from two photographers, the Portuguese Luis Barbosa and the Swiss Peter Schulthess, and historical pictures with a special attention on political detention before 1974. This photo exhibition will be inaugurated on the 19 April 2024 and last until 1 September.

It is the fourth exhibition of the portuguese prison photo project. The first was shown in 2017 in the former prison building of Porto, housing today the Centro Português de Fotografia (CPF). The second was held in 2019 at the Museu do Aljube Resistência e Liberdade and the third in the Arquivo Nacional Torre do Tombo in 2021/2022.

Initiated by Daniel Fink, a Swiss prison researcher, this photo project brought together the two photographers, the prison historian professor Maria José Moutinho Santos, the former director of the Museu do Aljube Resistência e Liberdade professor Luis Farinha, and prison researchers from universities of Portugal and Switzerland for a unique cooperation. The Direção-Geral de Reinserção e Serviços Prisionais (DGRSP) gave its consent to the photographers to take pictures inside its prisons.

The exhibition of the two photographers offers a cross-sectional view of prisons of Portugal, from the largest to the smallest, from the oldest to the most recently built, prisons for men, young offenders or women. The pictures provide an insight into the living conditions in penitentiary establishment of Portugal. Luis Barbosa attempts to show the point of view of the detainees, putting ambiance and atmosphere first, in black and white pictures. On his side, Peter Schulthess documents prisons rather from an institutional point of view, using a high-resolution pictures and colours to reveal the smallest details. For his first photographs made for the project in 2017, Luis Barbosa received the award of best photographic work of the Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores (SPA) in 2018.

The inauguration takes place on 19 April, at 7 p.m. It is preceded by a conference, open to anybody, about living conditions in prisons before 1974 and information on the form and content of the current exhibition. The ten speakers will continue on 20 April 2024 to discuss today’s prison system of Portugal.

Further information here


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