Denis Tarasov / Fyodor Telkov

The Other Side of the Wall


For three years, Yekaterinburg photographers Denis Tarasov and Fyodor Telkov studied the world of ‘the zone’, closed to the eyes of strangers. They took photographs of awful criminals who were convicted for life and regular people who made a mistake once in their life. Their research included visits to adolescent and women’s colonies; they worked in museums and archives with real case materials of the most famous crimes of the past and recorded interviews with the released prisoners. They ended up producing a story about crime and punishment, freedom and nonconformism, the nature of evil that has no time frame and lies in the soul of a person.

The world of criminals is cruel and inhumane. Many prisoners describe the time spent in the colony as a horrible time in their lives. “I have much less faith in people,” one of them says. However, the human ability to survive in the most adverse circumstances has no limits. Women are still women: even wearing prisoner’s sweatshirts, they have children and dream about happiness.





It turns out that freedom does not have absolute value for every person. The colony allows prisoners to finish their education, obtain a profession, which increases their chances for social rehabilitation. Many prefer the predictable schedule at the colony to the frightening uncertainty on the other side of the wall, and the prisoners refer to the colony as to the good school of life, and even as a home. “Humans are creatures that get used to everything, and I think that would best define them,” Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, who had his own experience of penal servitude. Such revelations makes you look differently not as much at prison, but at society in general.

It is only an illusion that the world on the other side of the wall is fenced with barbed wire. In reality, it is part of the society, its borders are penetrable. The history of humanity is a history of crime. Murderers and their victims are all somebody’s children, friends, colleagues, they study in the same schools and walk the same streets, live in the same houses. Nobody can ever feel that they are safe, because evil and vice are in human nature.









The objects below are part of the exposition at the museum of the pretrial detention center SIZO-1 in Yekaterinburg. The museum is on the territory of the institution, so the exhibits are there only for the employees and special guests to see.

One of the oldest buildings of the prison started to be built in 1928 and is a monument of architecture. There are currently about 400 cells in SIZO-1, inhabited by about several thousand people. At the same time, the institution works as a transfer prison, one of the largest in Russia. Before the death penalty was abolished, executions were served here, too. Along with adults, adolescent prisoners are also held here. Maintenance staff here are general regime prisoners.

In the colony, people become units, their individuality is erased. It is almost impossible to have a frank conversation there. To find out more about life in the colony, photographers had to meet the people who got out and adapted to their new lives. To find heroes, they asked New Life, the regional civic foundation of Sverdlovsk oblast that helps convicts and released prisoners. It was started by women who have prison experience.




Fyodor Telkov. Born in Nizhny Tagil, lives in Yekaterinburg. Member of the Russian Union of Art Photographers. Winner of various competitions and participant of international biennale, including Open Border Festival (Netherlands), FotoFest 12 (US), and PhotoVisa (Russia). Published his works in GEO, Russian Reporter, Port, Forbes, Life Force Magazine, Rolling Stone, Foto&Video, The New Times, Calvert, Colta, and BBC.

Denis Tarasov. Born in Sverdlovsk (currently Yekaterinburg). Member of the Russian Union of Art Photographers. Winner of various competitions and participant of international biennale, in particular, winner of Volga Photo Biennale 2010 in Nizhny Novgorod. His works are part of museum and private collections.









Центр фотографии "Март". Екатеринбург. 8 Марта, 1

Время работы: 11.00 - 22.00 без выходных. Цена билета