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

© Azim Khan Ronnie

THEME: OPEN CALL Deadline: 2 January 2020

Regardless of genres, this month we encourage all photographers to share with us their best images. Fine art, landscape, street, documentary, portrait, still life: there are no boundaries and you are free to submit any kind of work.

We want you to challenge us and respond to the theme in as many inventive ways as you can imagine: Edit carefully and show us what you’ve got!


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

Submit Now