|Photograph: Olivia Arthur/© Olivia Arthur/Magnum Photos|
Interview by Michael Segalov
Wed 14 Jul 2021 13.36 BST
n the past 18 months, I have become increasingly fascinated by our obsession with locking people up, taking away each other’s liberty. Perhaps the pandemic gave me space to think more about prison systems, as we all spent time in isolation. My interest in prisons can be traced back to 2012, though, when I read about the Comayagua prison fire in Honduras, which led to more than 350 people dying. Those tragic stories – people locked in with no way to escape the flames – stuck with me.Way for Escape, Magnum’s square-print sale, runs until 18 July.
Olivia Arthur’s CV
Born: London, 1980.
Trained: Mathematics at Oxford University, photojournalism at London College of Printing.
Influences: Yto Barrada, Jim Goldberg, Sam Contis.
High point: “Publishing my two books and setting up Fishbar with Philipp Ebeling.”
Low point: “Shooting a New Yorker assignment in India, arriving back in Delhi to find there was nothing on the film. I reshot it.”
Top tip: “Slow down. As life gets more hectic, I’m moving to bigger and older cameras to return some calm.”