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Exhibition “The Portuguese Prison Photo Project”

April 19 - September 1


Who has ever seen a prison from the inside? “The Portuguese prison photo project” accepted the challenge of making Portugal’s prisons known. The result of this photographic project will be presented at the Museum of Portimão, as part of an exhibition integrated in the program of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the 25th of April. Contemporary images of Portuguese prisons by two photographers, Portuguese Luís Barbosa and Swiss Peter Schulthess, and historical images with a special focus on pre-1974 political detention. This photographic exhibition will open on April 19, 2024 and will run until September 1.

It is the fourth exhibition of the Portuguese prison photo project. The first was presented in 2017 in the building of the former prison in Porto, which currently houses the Portuguese Center of Photography (CPF). The second was held in 2019 at the Aljube Museum of Resistance and Freedom and the third at the Torre do Tombo National Archive in 2021/2022.

Launched by Daniel Fink, a Swiss prison researcher, this photographic project brought together the two photographers, prison historian Professor Maria José Moutinho Santos, the former director of the Aljube Museum of Resistance and Freedom, Professor Luís Farinha, and prison researchers from universities in Portugal and Switzerland for a unique cooperation. The Directorate-General for Reintegration and Prison Services (DGRSP) has authorized photographers to photograph inside its prisons.

The exhibition of the two photographers offers a transversal view of Portugal’s prisons, from the largest to the smallest, from the oldest to the most recent, prisons for men, young delinquents or women. The images give us an insight into the living conditions in Portugal’s penitentiary establishments. Luís Barbosa tries to show the point of view of the inmates, putting the environment and atmosphere first, in black and white photographs. For his part, Peter Schulthess documents prisons more from an institutional point of view, using high-resolution and color images to reveal the smallest details. For the first photographs taken for the project in 2017, Luís Barbosa received the award for best photographic work from the Portuguese Society of Authors (SPA) in 2018.

The inauguration will take place on 19 April, at 7:00 p.m., and will be preceded by a free conference on prison living conditions before 1974, and information on the form and content of the current exhibition. The ten speakers will continue on 20 April 2024 to discuss the current prison system Portuguese.

More info here


April 19
September 1

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