From left to right: Peter Sutcliffe (The Yorkshire Ripper), Fred West, Steven Barker (Stepfather to Baby P), Myra Hindley
Philippe Bazin’s images are reminiscent of mug shots. However it seems as though his images are intended to evoke sympathy and portray the humanity of the prisoners rather than re-affirm that there is somehow a difference in the way we look that allows us to distance ourselves from perpetrators of abhorrent crimes.
Is it right for artists to sentimentalise about prisoners? No matter what may have contributed to their reasons for being in prison, the vast majority deserve their punishment so it seems strange and rather naive that artists like Bazin are so keen to portray the humanity of inmates. I’m not suggesting that they demonise them instead but monochrome, close-up images of prisoners could be seen to be over romanticising the prisoner somewhat.