New Bell, inside the other side
Project info

New Bell prison is somewhat of a myth in Cameroon, it is a city within a city with it's own laws and rules, one of the most dreaded places in the country. Cameroonian's are terrified just when hearing it's name. It is the most populated prison of the country, hosting around 4000 prisoners in an old colonial building which has a fraction of that capacity. With no seclusion or forced isolation, prisoners are mostly let free to roam within the structure and submit to an internal order that is managed by the same inmates. Since 2018 I have been working on a music and audio-visual project inside the prison and have been documenting some of the life and people inside this infamous place. In the photos I don't seek to portray the stereotypical menacing image of prisoners we are used to be presented with, but rather I try to capture different layers of humanity, often delicate and introspective, with a clear intention to distance myself from any kind of phenomenalism. I find it interesting as a woman to be photographing inside a male prison, and how this influences the way the subjects opens up in front of the camera in a spontaneous and sometimes childlike way. This project is not about any kind of denunciation of the conditions inside the prison, but rather a token of the time and trust I shared with many of these people over the years and to the creativity, talent and liveliness I witness there every day. Hopefully it will inspire others to look in a different and more nuanced wa