Van Malleghem in Prison

Amongst the highlights at last year’s Festival du Polar at Villeneuve les Avignon, were two excellent photographic exhibitions: Scènes de Crime, by Hermance Triay, a series of atmospheric, disturbing but evocatively beautiful images shot largely in the United States and Canada; and Police, a startling collection of black and white photographs by Sébastien Van Malleghem, stemming from time spent out on the streets with the Belgian police force. Both of which I wrote about on the old Mellotone blog …

Now comes, a little later this year, a new book of photographs – a photographic essay, one might say – by Van Malleghem, called Prisons, based upon research he undertook in as many as ten prisons, beginning in 2009.

Prisons aims at opening our eyes on inmates; casting light on the failures of an obsolete judicial and penal system which remains to this day inscribed in the country that taught me the ideals of justice and humanity. Why do we turn a blind eye on those broken lives? On those whose lives are ruined? These images show the cracks and, in this light, reveal the toll taken by a societal model bringing out tension and aggressiveness, amplifying failure, excess and insanity, faith and passion, poverty.

Set for publication in June, the book’s publisher, André Frère, is hoping to raise some of the money needed through a crowdfunding project, details of which can be found below. Please take a look and, if you find the work and/or the ideas behind it, of interest, consider making a contribution.

Picture This !

One of the highlights of the Festival du Polar in Villeneuve Lez Avignon last October was Scènes de Crime, a series of highly atmospheric and suggestive colour photographs by Hermance Triay.

Hermance is also a noted portrait photographer, so when she asked if I would – how does Madonna put it? –  Strike the Pose? – I was only too pleased to comply. (Though my pose, as you’ll see, was scarcely Madonna-like at all.)

Given their subject, pretty damn good photos, though – silk purse, sow’s ear et cetera – and they’re watermarked, so please don’t try nicking them off the web. Any publishers, publicists and the like should apply for permission in the normal way.

Merci, Hermance!


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Writers & writing: books, movies, art & music - the bits & pieces of a (retiring) writer's life


Writers & writing: books, movies, art & music - the bits & pieces of a (retiring) writer's life