I failed in identifying a Slovenian photographer for the Photographers World Cup listing, until Yasmina Reggad suggested Manca Juvan. (I also failed with Paraguay, but more on that in time).

Juvan photographed Dob, the oldest and largest prison in Slovenia (built in 1963).

Dob has the unfortunate problems of many large prisons – overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, high-rates of infectious disease, violent & non-violent offenders jointly housed and the intractable hierarchies of prison culture.

Dob prison was built according to a new penology in Slovenia, which prioritised management of – as opposed to rehabilitation from – anti-social behaviour:

” The main goal of Dob prison was and still is the accommodation of a larger “aggregate” of dangerous offenders who have to serve long term sentences. The prison has met the particular security technical standards (high walls, wires, electric current, a buffer area, dogs, etc.). Treatment programs of inmates within the prison exist, and they are implemented, but the clear priorities in Dob prison are the control and security (Brinc and Petrovec, 2001).”

(Source: ‘Overview of Inmates’ Treatment in Slovenia’ by Danijela Frangež & Jerneja Šifrer. VARSTVOSLOVJE, Journal of Criminal, Justice and Security, Year 12, no. 2, pp. 217-234.)

A STORY NEEDING MORE THAN PHOTOGRAPHS

The portfolio is all too brief. Juvan works hard to focus attention on the individual inmates and the activities they choose to fill their time; it is respectful work but I feel the series just falls short. I suspect if Juvan had had longer in Dob prison she could’ve really teased out some more stories.

This is the type of photoessay that would benefit hugely from audio or multimedia components. If it is appropriate/needed, there’s no excuse now for a photographer to not include audio in his or her online portfolio (just ask duckrabbit).

In terms of “presenting photography on a computer”, I think user expectations and internet publishing tools limit the advanced reflexivity Joerg is championing. Between user-demands and web-tools, which will develop most rapidly to force development in the other? It’s time we start demanding more.