Black & White Photography by Igor Coko - Living Behind Bars

Living behind bars A photography project by Igor Coko

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

“Researching on prisoners’ 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 for 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 its 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 Coko’s work here

Monthly Photo Contest

Color film portrait photograph of a young woman by Michelle Marshall
© Michelle Marshall

2021 Portrait AWARD Deadline: 31 May 2021

"In a portrait, I’m looking for the silence in somebody."
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Portrait photography has one of the oldest and most interesting histories that harkens back to the early days of the medium. Through portraits of iconic figures or ordinary people, we discover a deep interest in others.

Recent works or gems from your archives, classic or experimental, and through any kind of storytelling: we want to discover the most powerful and captivating images of today’s portrait photography. We are open to all interpretations and want to see faces that gaze right into the soul!


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

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