Prison Workers © Ricky Maynard

Ricky Maynard‘s No More Than What You See is an old project, but tackles a subject I’ve not featured before.

Following the report Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991), self-taught photographer Maynard was compelled to look at the prisons of South Australia, including Cadell Training Centre, the Yatala Labour Prison, and the Northfield Prison Complex.

Maynard (born 1953 Launceston, Tasmania, Australia) explains in his 1993 grant winning Fifty Crows portfolio:

If you are Aboriginal in Australia you are 15 times more likely than a non-Aboriginal to spend time in jail. I felt that it was important for a Koorie (Aboriginal) photographer to record some aspects of what was happening to our people at this time. After all, the Australian Government spent millions of dollars and produced hundreds of pages of reports, but little  that Aboriginal people could relate to. It seemed to me that a few strong images had the potential to convey more than all those words. We needed something that people could relate to, visual proof of the times and the experiences, for both Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people.

All captions are direct quotes from the National Gallery of Australia’s own captions. See 42 images from Maynard’s archive. See Maynard’s more recent work at Stills Gallery.

There are things in this picture you cannot see. “I enter here only with a pair of jocks. The walls are made of rubber and the blankets are made of canvas.” © Ricky Maynard

“When I fainted in the streets the cops just threw me into the back of the van head first. Now they bring me here and it’s so cold.” © Ricky Maynard

“There are no mirrors, all the ones we have here are steel so that you never can see yourself, you’re always distorted.” © Ricky Maynard

“I’ve let my frustrations go, and I wonder about the others, will they let their frustrations out here or release them on the community? I often wonder, with the experience I have of frequently visiting this place, how different I will be when I get released from prison.” © Ricky Maynard