See Unpublished Photos of England’s Most Infamous Prison
For VICE‘s “True Crime” issue, international photo agency Magnum Photos opened up their archives to the magazine, sharing unpublished, behind-the-scenes photos of the UK’s criminal sphere. Of particular note is Chris Steele-Perkins’s 1980 project on Manchester’s notorious prison, Strangeways, now renamed, rather dryly, HM Prison Manchester.
Best known for his depictions of Africa, Afghanistan, England, and Japan, Steele-Perkins also captured the first mass expression of British youth culture in his book, titled The Teds. He cites humanist photographers such as André Kertész, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Eugene Smith as some of his influences.
Steele-Perkins’s cinematic images of life behind bars at Strangeways capture the strictly regimented lives of prisoners; walking in queue-like formation, the prisoners are depicted circling the prison’s yard during recreation or sitting in their cells. A gaunt elderly warden features in one shot, while photogenic young men make up most of the inmates. The eerie, foreboding atmosphere of the prison and its idiosyncratic characters seem tailor-made for a cult television series—perhaps a future season of American Horror Story could cross the pond?
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