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What Photography & Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase

Edgar Martins

The Moth House

Shortlisted Paris Photo — Aperture Foundation Photobook of the year Award 2020

Publication date : 2020/01/01
Weight 1300 g / Dimensions 17 x 23 cm / 532 pages / text in English
ISBN 9780956908544
Designer Pedro Falcão

What Photography & Incarceration Have in Common with an Empty Vase is a two-part photobook by UK-based Portuguese photographer Edgar Martins, created in collaboration with inmates at a prison in England’s Midlands region. In this densely packed project, Martins wrestles with crucial questions about the representation of the experience of incarceration. The two volumes are packaged together in a plastic police evidence bag. One of the volumes is the facsimile of pages from an incarcerated person’s diary; handwritten entries express the frustrations and anxieties of undergoing trial and daily life in prison, occasionally layered with a photograph or drawing by either the author or Martins. “The complementary volume sets up an uneasy juxtaposition,” Meister cautions—opening up questions of truth and fiction, or the equivalences between shooting a camera and a gun. Martins brings together a heady mix of studio and archival images, documents, and other interventions “to complicate or render impossible any simple read of the subject,” Meister observes.

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