Sue Paull spent 15 years photographing numerous prison tattoos of Australia's most violent criminals.
Trained as an art teacher, Sue Paull felt the school classroom was to depressing and instead looked elsewhere for a creative outlet and found herself teaching some of Australia's most dangerous inmates to paint and draw. Paull spent over 15 years teaching in Australia's notoriously tough prisons and taught killers and rapists in a room with no guards!!
While teaching Paull immersed herself in the prison world and began photographing and documenting the hidden world of Australia's inmates. Drawn to the prison tattoos and physical strength of the men Paull captured notorious criminals in intimate and personal ways, ways in which no one else could.
Over the years Paull captured almost every aspect of the prison world and the society in which the prisoners live. From transgender weddings, female guards in riot gear to abandoned prison wings, razor wire and prisoner exercise Paull witnessed it all and got it all in pictured. The more intimate shots by Paull feature heavily tattooed prisoners, many of which were convicted murderess, posing with their paintings created in lessons with Paull.
Paull's attention to prisoner tattoos and strength offer a glimpse into the inmate world of 'survival of the fittest'. Using black and white photographs Paull documented prison life in Australia's notorious Long Bay Jail, Sydney, from 1993 to the early 2000s.
Through her classes a number of inmates found new creative outlets and changed who they were, some of the inmates even enrolled in art schools upon release from prison! Surprisingly for the 15 years in which she explored a violent and dangerous world Paull actually felt at ease and never felt threatened or endangered.
Sue Paull's photographs offer a detailed and intimate look at the world of Australian prisons and the tattooed inmates that call it home. Her work is truly something special and certainly a project any tattoo and photography fan can appreciate.