Too Much Time
eye: an image shows a husband bent over his wife's corpse (the description says she died because she wasn't allowed to have an inhaler in her cell). But at other times, the shocking access she has to personal moments colludes with the privacy-stripping dehumanization of prisons. The photo of a woman receiving a gynecological exam-required after a conjugal visit, according to the description-disturbs me most because it doesn't look clinical. The prisoner wears oversize wool socks, a big winter sweater, and a matter-of-fact expression. She's calm, as if no one is watching her. The image is almost (I shudder at the thought) intimate.
Atwood continually capitalizes on the similarity of inmate and intimate. In a shot of a "prison sauna for inmates," several naked women stand around basins washing themselves. One looks down at her body, smiling slightly, drenching herself with a bucket of water. She looks like a Greek goddess, I think, as I admire the way the water cascades from her breasts like a fountain. Only a small industrial light in the far back corner of the frame reminds me this is prison.