the prison photo project
The objective of the prison photo project international is to provide insights into contemporary places of detention in Europe. Until now, establishments of deprivation of liberty in Switzerland, Portugal and Germany have been visited and photographed. The plan is to continue to document prisons in other European countries.
Four exhibitions have already been realized, three in Portugal and one in Switzerland, all but one in former prisons converted into museums and exposition centres.
The prison photo project international is based on an initiative of the prison historian Daniel Fink and the photographer Peter Schulthess who have been joining forces and sharing ideas since 2002, to mount exhibitions and publish books.
The Projects in Portugal and Switzerland
the portuguese prison photo project is a prison documentation and exhibition project using photography that was initiated by Daniel Fink in 2015 in Porto. It provides insights into contemporary prisons of Portugal, from the largest and oldest dating back to 1880 to the newest ones shot by Luis Barbosa, a Portuguese photographer, and Peter Schulthess, a Swiss photographer, in three phases between 2016 and 2023.
Three exhibitions of pictures have already taken place, two in former prisons transformed into museum, the Centro Português de Fotografia (CPF), in Porto, and the Museu do Aljube Resistência e Liberdade, in Lisbon; these exhibitions also comprised a historical part, with prison photographs from State archives, curated by Maria José Moutinho Santos. A third exhibition was held in the National Archives Torre do Tombo in Lisbon. The next exhibition will be hosted by the Museu de Portimão, in the south of Portugal, due to open on the 19 April 2024. For the first time, it will include photographs of political prisons in use until 1974.
the swiss prison photo project is a prison documentation and exhibition project using photography that was started in 2017 in Berne. It provides insights into contemporary prisons of Switzerland, from the largest to the smallest, from the oldest dating back to 1864 to the newest one which was opened in 2020. The photographs have all been shot by the Swiss photographer Peter M. Schulthess in the years 2017 to 2019.
One exhibition of his photographs has taken place so far, at the Polit-Forum in Berne. The exhibition of 2019/2020 provided insights into 26 establishments of deprivation of liberty representing around two thirds of all detention places of Switzerland. It was combined with a film cycle on the subject of prisons, round table discussions on sanctions and imprisonment, a concert of contemporary music, guided tours and a book vernissage. A next exhibition is in planning in the Italian part of Switzerland.
A 3-volume publication is planned for October 2024
Museu de Portimão
19. 4. – 1. 9. 2024
(19 weeks/110 days open)
Berne 2019 – 2020
15. 11. 2019 – 4. 4. 2020
(20 weeks/141 days open)
Museu do Aljube Resistência e Liberdade
11. 5. – 29. 9. 2019
(20 weeks/100 days open)
Centro Português de Fotografia (CPF)
9. 9. – 3. 12. 2017
(12 weeks/73 days open)