When we were asked to shoot some heads in a prison
As a business owner, one of the best things about my job is the variety of work we do and the colourful people we meet, but nothing beats the call I had last week asking if we could come to her majesty’s prison in Brixton to photograph a team of people who were working with rehabilitating offenders. ‘Yes,’ I replied with a little hesitation (if I’m honest) because of course, we all have preconceived ideas of Prison and it’s inmates. What transpired was a mind-blowing surprise. The Clink Restaurant is a charitable organisation co-founded by entrepreneur Finlay Scott and managed by Chris Moore (pictured below) which now operates four training restaurants inside four different prisons. Dining at The Clink is a memorable experience (as myself and my assistant Sophia were privileged to experience). Service is second to none and the food offers a contemporary twist on traditional British cuisine, with the menus creatively designed around the changing seasons and local produce (most of which are now grown in The Clink gardens).
So why are we shouting out about this experience, well in April 2018, new data analysis from a report conducted by the Justice Data Lab(JDL) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) provided evidence to show that The Clink charity has reduced reoffending by 49.6% amongst its cohort of 2014/15 graduates – quite frankly that’s extraordinary.
We all have a social responsibility to help our society prosper and apart from it being an experience going through all the security checks and hearing the sound of the big gates close behind us as we entered the prison, the one thing both Sophia and I took home from that day was that actually, we were the ones being educated, we were the ones who’s preconceived ideas had just been blown apart because our experience was all positive and we both left firmly believing that everyone deserves a second chance. Yes our food was cooked by real prisoners and yes our food was served by real prisoners, but they are also real people who (mostly) want to have a real chance at life once they have served their time. Read here to see results from that shoot.