Igor Coko Living behind bars

What is life like behind bars and closed heavy iron doors of a prison cells? Is it what we see in movies, or something else?

“Researching on prisoners’s daily life at the infamous Belgrade County Jail, you can feel an energy coming from another dimension. Here, the sky above is the only freedom prisoners will have – For a long time.

I worked on this story almost three years in cooperation with the Belgrade County Jail Treatment Service. The heavily guarded complex of Belgrade County Jail is the biggest facility of it’s type in the Balkans. It includes a prison section with 300 inmates serving their sentences for various crimes and is located just a few miles from Belgrade’s city center.

I was making my story at the restricted cell block called “5-1”. there, prisoners are locked up 22 hours a day, the remaining 2 hours spent in the outdoor yard for fresh air. This series of images is the first in the history of Serbian photography that documents prison life without censorship: Real life behind bars, as it is.” – Igor Čoko

Born in Knin, Croatia in 1975, Igor Čoko holds a degree in Ethnology and Anthropology. As a visual anthropologist, Igor uses his camera to document and explore the life of people and specific social groups.

– Discover more of Igor’s work here

Monthly Photo Contest

© Khanh Bui

THEME: VISUAL STORYTELLING Deadline: 30 June 2019

The art of visual storytelling encompasses a wide range of possibilities with at its heart, the will to tell a story.

From classic social documentary to imaginative storytelling: this month we are seeking visual artists aiming to captivate and share their stories with conviction.

Portrait, street, documentary, landscape: All approaches are valid. Enter now and show us YOUR stories!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

Submit Now