The UK premiere of Donald Weber’s Interrogations arrives at White Cloth Gallery, Leeds this week. This stark series, explores the violence, fear, and power in Post-Soviet Ukraine and Russia. The acclaimed Canadian photojournalist recorded his seven year journey through the Ukraine and Russia, including a series of portraits taken during the four months Weber spent inside an unnamed police interrogation room in the Ukraine.
Open to the public from today, the exhibition takes a bleak look at the justice system in post-Soviet society. Winning first place in the World Press Photo Awards portrait stories category, the photographs document petty criminals such as contraband cigarette smugglers, prostitutes and small-time thieves or “Zeks”, being subjected to intense interrogation. It took four years for Weber to be granted access to the police interrogation rooms, but on his success the photographer managed to capture a complex portrait of criminals and their relationship with the justice system. Each image is shot at the individuals moment of confession, and the images offer a fleeting glimpse of pure and brutal honesty. Absent from the frame, the interrogator only appears as a gun or a fist, but the harsh reality of their actions are clearly evident on the confessors faces.
Taken from the book of the same name, the project reflects Weber’s constant preoccupation with power in the modern state and its secret collaboration with both masters and victims. Previous award winning works include, The Underclass and Its Bosses: Crime & Punishment in the Ukraine, and Bastard Eden, Our Chernobyl. In his mission to uncover the effects of world power, the photographer has visited such diverse places as Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia and South America. This exhibition is a chance to reflect on just one of these journeys, besides unearthing the power struggles that remain in the modern world.
Donald Weber: Interrogations, until 30 April, White Cloth Gallery, 26 Aire Street Leeds LS1 4HT.
All images Interrogations ©Donald Weber.