Washing Line,2006,
Fibre Base silver gelatin hand print
50 x 60cm.

    Eye Inside

    Tracey Derrick

    5 - 29 December

    “Eye Inside” is a new body of work by photographer Tracey Derrick, documenting more than a year in the lives of the women inmates at Malmesbury Prison. Walking the tight-rope between empathic portraiture and objective documentary, it is an intimate portrait of a community normally hidden behind prison walls.

    “From an initial shyness around me and my camera grew a warm and intimate experience between us. These women shared their life experiences with me.” Derrick’s work always has moments of raw connection with her subjects, but in the world of the prison it took longer than usual to establish and capture that rapport.

    “By the end of the year I needed to give something back. Their daily lives in prison were uneventful so I taught them some photography - I didn’t really want to end our friendship,” says Derrick. She brought in a dozen cameras from a previous project with children in the townships, organized funding and taught the women photography in the prison. The camera group called themselves Rough Diamonds. Their photographs of each other and their inside world complement Derrick’s eye and the combined works will be hanging at the João Ferreira Gallery from 5th December this year.

    The friendship is apparent in Derrick’s photographs, which are remarkable for their intimacy. Whether documenting the boredom, the isolation and the alienation of prison life, or capturing the friendship, community, creativity and fun that the women create within it, the photographs are a deeply personal record, for both photographer and subject.

    A year with the women of Malmesbury prison
    compact, intimate daily life inside, locked away.
    Much activity around the preening process - dressing up, creating hairstyles, manicures –
    a luxury hotel offering all the beauty salon services
    doing time, spending time in a closed space, forty together –
    forty strong,
    forty vicious,
    forty loving,
    forty different histories living together,
    24 hours a day,

    Opening reception: Wednesday 5 December at 6pm

    To view work on exhibition, please click here