What started as a simple experiment and research for our final major project, a photographic project of our exploration arose from it. HMP Dorchester, a recently closed prison, primarily used as a criminal justice system. It used to house approximately two-hundred and fifty male convicts living in and around Dorchester. However, due to overcrowding and too little investment in the maintenance of the prison, it was closed in 2013 and has since has been sold to City & County who plan to redevelop the existing site and erect housing.
The series of photographs displays the state that the inmates were charged and confined too, or even lives taken from them. Our thoughts on this journey was instantaneously changed, what started as quite light and open minded, became dark and cold. It all started from the prison entrance, ironically ‘holding the key to a brighter future’, with such a light-hearted cheery entrance, it was only show for us two and anyone who entered. What was inside was completely different, it had all changed walking through the cells.
The prison had decayed so much, with a constant reminder of being stuck and trapped inside. The atmosphere being uninhabited, stolen from us, hidden by bars and metal. It was a labyrinth of the cells, mirrored from each direction. With an eerie aura from the absence of life and presence of other human beings gave us a sense of the absolute emptiness. An unnerving sense of nonexistence, it was not taken lightly with death row being taken at this prison. The lives stolen from this place was discomforting, with stories of how it happened and where it occurred. With them being hung over the entrance of the prison, with their final sight over Dorchester.What started out as simple research it completely defied our previous perceptions of prison life as we were literally placed in a position which made us feel cold and uneasy. An unforgettable experience of the prison, it had given us final sights of the penitentiary before it is demolished and the memories of all the individuals who had lived in it prior taken away by Dorchester prison. Yet, with a new coming of homes, it can hold the key to a brighter future.
Stefan // stefanman.co.uk
Poppy // behance.net/poppyquesn3bb1