For his latest series, French photographer Romain Veillon visited a very special place: France’s last panoptic prison in Auntun, in the Saône-et-Loire region. A type of prison with a particular architecture, imagined at the end of the XVIIIth century by two brothers, Jeremy and Samuel Bentham. It allows the warden, located in a central tower, to keep an eye on all the prisoners without them noticing. Thus, the prisoners never know when they are being watched and have the impression that they are constantly being observed.
“In the end, the concept of the panoptic prison was a failure: the few prisons that chose to experiment with this system reported a significant increase in violence and insalubrity, as well as a certain rate of suicide and insanity among prisoners,” precise Romain Veillon. Now, the prison has been abandoned for about 60 years but will soon be revived and experience a very different future by integrating the development project of the city museum. Before this rebirth, the photographer allows us a final plunge inside this place.
More to see on Veillon’s Instagram.