Pasvang, Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison
“Pasvang, Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison” is the result of three months Subotzky spent inside the walls of Pollsmoor Prison, an overcrowded correctional facility largely controlled by gangs. Through talking to the prisoners and the warders, teaching classes in photography to the inmates and documenting his experiences, Subotzky captured a unique perspective of the prisoners and the prison itself. Subotzky was working digitally, and a key feature of the Pollsmoor work was panoramic images in which he would stitch together a number of shots to give a 360-degree view of the jammed prison wards and spaces. While the desperate sense of beaten down men, caged within a harsh institutional environment is prevalent throughout the Vier Hoeke series, there are nonetheless moments that show the survival of the human spirit, even under the direst circumstances. “Pasvang, Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison” thus represents significantly more than a documentary insight into a prison, rather it is the documentation and culmination of Subotzky’s intervention undertaken in an attempt to understand and undermine power systems in South Africa.