Edmund Clark on photographing in high security locations
Photographer Edmund Clark has done projects in HMP Kingston, Guantanamo Bay and a house where a terrorism suspect was being held under a Control Order. He talks to us about access and censorship…
How do you gain access to highly restricted spaces?
Getting access is an administrative process – making sure you tick the right boxes – and a bit of luck as well. For the Kingston prison project, Still Life Killing Time, I’d done some work in young offenders’ institutions and had a contact in the prison service press office. I also made sure I had a photo editor saying she was interested. I met a lawyer representing people in Guantanamo through the prison work and he helped me identify the right person at the Pentagon. Again I made sure I had the backing of a British magazine.
For the Control Order House series I used the Guantanamo work to show that I’ve worked in very sensitive situations. That my work is about space and people’s relationship to it, which was exactly what this story was about. So it’s being credible, honest, reliable – and persistent.