By Imogen Jacobs
An exhibition at the Musée Carnavalet gives visitors a look into a world normally hidden from the general public. “Impossible Photography, Paris Prisons,” which runs at the museum through July 4, features 350 photos taken in Paris’s prisons over the last 159 years.
The museum (29, rue de Sévigné; 33-1-44-59-58-76; www.carnavalet.paris.fr) has organized the exhibition by location, rather than chronologically, with a collection totaling 3,800 images, a stunning mix of black and white, color and sepia.
Photographers like Henri Manuel, Pierre Jouve and a collaborated report between Anne-Lise Dees, Jacqueline Salmon and Catherine Rechard, provide a variety of viewpoints. The idea is to make the audience think about the realities of prison life – and whether photographers can really convey those realities.
Be prepared for pictures from La Petite Roquette and Saint Lazare, both women’s prisons, featuring nuns as well as inmates, shots of youth offenders, as well as photos depicting the environment of prisons: the courtyards, the cells, the exteriors.