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14/38 (Not The Man I Once Was) © Amy Elkins, from the series Black Is The Day, Black Is The Night

Cruel and Unusual, the 2012 exhibition of photographs from prisons, co-curated by Hester Keijser and I is on the move.

Originally commissioned and debuted at Noorderlicht in the Netherlands [ 1,  2  &  3 ], Cruel and Unusual has since been to Amsterdam and Photoville in New York [ 1,  2  &  3 ].

In 2013, continuing its journey, Cruel and Unusual will travel to Sydney, Australia for the Reportage Photography Festival, May 24th – June 13th. It was selected by Photoville as one of three exhibits. To be shown alongside Russell Frederick’s Dying Breed: Photos of Bedford Stuyvesant and Bruce Gilden/Magnum Foundation’s No Place Like Home: Foreclosures in America.

As one presentation ends, another begins. Cruel and Unusual travels to the Sirius Art Center in Cobh, Ireland. On view from June 13th – July 22nd. Hester will be doing a talk at the reception on June 22nd at 2pm.

I’m really happy to see the exhibition live on, and grateful to those who are making it happen.

Special thanks to Peg Amison at Sirius Arts Center, to Sam Barzilay at Photoville, Olaf and the team at Noorderlicht for their ongoing support.


Doug Dubois needs no introduction in photocircles, but he did when he stepped on to the Russell Heights estate in Cobh, Ireland. Doug was running workshops with the youth in Cobh but making no photographs. Out of compulsion he asked to go to their homes to inspire his photography.

After last weeks events in Newtown, Connecticut, the preciousness of childhood is on the minds of millions. Childhood and teenage years deserve celebration. Dubois’ My Last Day At Seventeen is a celebration. There’s no portfolio on his website but you can see selects on Piece Of Cake.

Often, when you hear teachers reflect about their work, you’ll hear, “I learnt more from the students than they learnt from me,” or some variant of. It seems this was Doug’s experience.

“I’m interested in the glow of youth; its fragility. As I’m older, I know it will disappear, but they don’t,” says Dubois in a beautifully produced feature in the 13th episode of the Irish culture and arts television program Imeall. Dubois spent four consecutive summers working in Russell Heights through the artist in residency programme at Sirius Arts Centre.

“He spent four years photographing my life,” says Erin Mackessy, one of Dubois’ main subjects (above, on the left) who speaks throughout the film (click the image below). The respect between Doug and Erin is described really well. It’s nice to hear both photographer and subject talk about one another so familiarly.






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