• Facebook

    500 K / likes

  • Twitter

    1 M / followers

Beyond Freedom: Photos Inside Russia’s Prison System


As of October 1, 2018, there were 575,686 people in the institutions of Russia’s penitentiary system. For each of these people, the reality of being in one of the penitentiary institutions is simultaneously a problem, a conflict, and a compromise. But probably to the greatest extent, it’s a compromise.

That is the form of adaptation — the convicted individual accepts changing conditions by adopting new requirements to live by and new living conditions to dwell in. Every day is a compromise with himself or herself, with representatives of the state, with other convicts, and with his or her relatives…

Smoke break
The poster reads: “Remember, they are waiting for you at home.”
Delivery of a hot lunch to the barracks of the colony of strict regime
A sign showing the best students, the best athletes, and production leaders.

Reeducation of criminals by labor
Everyone is equal before the law: both old and young

Valentine’s prisoner

About the author: Denis Davydenko was born in 1978 in Krasnoyarsk, Eastern Siberia, Russia. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. He has been taking pictures since nine years old. He has publications in the Russian regional press as well as in the Western editions. Denis Davydenko works in the genre of street, documentary and reportage photography. His favorite photographers he considers his guides to the world of visual art are Henri Cartier-Bresson, Josef Koudelka, Herbert List, Steve McCurry, Alexander Rodchenko, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Sergey Maksimishin, and Alexander Slyusarev. You can find more of Denis Davydenko’s work on 500px.