“I don’t take photographs outside.” This, the most revealing answer of my interview with French photographer and inmate, Ralph. His black and white photos are raw, beautiful, and oddly the most pure depictions that I’ve ever seen. Free from pretense, judgement, and opportunistic voyeurism.
*Why did you initially start taking photographs inside of prison?
Ralph: First, for distraction then as challenge and over time it has become witness.
*Why black and white?
Ralph: Because there is no color.
*Who or what is your most interesting subjects?
Ralph: I love the “dirty faces”. I love the faces that tell a story. Faces sweaty and suffering, that’s my favorite subject.
*Have you taken any photographs outside of prison?
Ralph: I never take pictures outside.
*Is photography a distraction or a reminder of where you are?
Ralph: I’ve frequented the prison for more than 25 years. This is a very big part of my life. It’s like a family photo album.
*What moves, enrages, and inspires you?
Ralph: Love. Hate. Injustice. What inspires me most are the emotions in the faces and the expressions in the eyes.
*Do you believe God exists? If so, do you see him in the faces of the people that you photograph?
Ralph: I do not know if I believe in God. But, I believe in man. I believe in redemption.
Facebook: Man in Jail