Photographer Kathrin Tschirner is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From her project ‘ JVA Willich – Men’s Block in Willich I ‘.  To see Kathrin’s body of work click on any image.




Willich I is part of a series about functional places to which also the forensic medicine in Cologne belongs to. These are clearly delineated, state institutions which fulfill a purpose. Because of the isolation that brings their function with them, they are alien to the citizen, but at the same time they inspire their imagination.


"Behind the colored walls, the battlements of the old, royal Prussian jail of 1900 are prominent."


Willich I is a correctional facility for men, consisting of a panopticon from which the four outgoing arms of the red brick building are supervised. It is one of the oldest prisons in Germany. Behind the colored walls, the battlements of the old, royal Prussian jail of 1900 are prominent.




According to the sociologist Émile Durkheim (1858-1917), community awareness requires reactions when approved norms are getting infringed. In today’s German legal system, this still means the removal of freedom for serious crimes. As an outsider I was allowed to experience this state ideal of justice in Willich I for one day.







The isolated world, which I was facing after crossing through the gate, gives me a feeling of lostness. I feel that behind the obvious order, a completely different world is to be found, which will however remain hidden to me. This ghostly feeling has not let go of me and is reflected in the pictures.





Willich I, Men’s Block’, 2013


See also:

Front Yard

By Kathrin Tschirner