Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out, Edmund Clark's photography

Edmund Clark Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out

Camp One, Exercise Cage, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, Cuba, 2009.

Camp Six, Shackles, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, Cuba, 2009.

Camp Six, Mobile Force-feeding Chair, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, Cuba, 2009.

Camp Six, Emergency Response Force Equipment, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, Cuba, 2009.

Detention Camp Hospital, Display of Product and Tube Used for Force-feeding, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, Cuba, 2009.

Camp Five, Detainee’s Cell, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, Cuba, 2009.

Camp Five Interrogation Cell, Emergency Call Button for Interrogators, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, Cuba, 2009.

Camp Four, Arrow Pointing to Mecca and Ring for Ankle Shackles, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, Cuba, 2009.

Camp One, Isolation Unit, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, Cuba, 2009.

Camp Six, Unused Communal Area, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, Cuba, 2009.

Artist's Statement

The continuing existence of the detention camps at Guantanamo Bay symbolises the imbalance of power that is the ‘Global War on Terror’. Since President Bush claimed the authority to indefinitely imprison anyone deemed an ‘enemy combatant’, hundreds of men from all over the world have been shipped to Guantanamo. 

Many have been imprisoned for years, subjected to interrogation abuses and denied fundamental due process rights. A handful were driven to suicide. It is in the daily process of their incarceration that the exercise of absolute power over the individual is most clearly seen. Every detail is controlled: whether a detainee is allowed toilet paper, mail or a pen, or whether his cell is in constant light or darkness. A man deemed non-compliant can be moved hourly from cell to cell or kept in solitary confinement; one who refuses to eat will be strapped to a chair and a tube forced down his nose. Of the 779 men detained, six have been convicted by military commissions. Despite President Obama’s pledge to close the camps, 171 remain incarcerated with little prospect of release or trial. Working under military censorship, this series explores the spaces and objects of power and control at Guantanamo.

About the photographer


1947, United Kingdom



Based in

London, United Kingdom

About Edmund Clark

Edmund Clark uses photography, found imagery and text to explore links between representation and politics. He is best known for his work exploring the consequences of control and incarceration in the monographs Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out (2010) and Still Life Killing Time (2007). After studying for a degree in History and French at the University of Sussex, Brighton and La Sorbonne, Paris, he worked as a researcher in London and Brussels before gaining a postgraduate diploma in photojournalism at the London College of Communications.

Edmund Clark’s photographs have been exhibited internationally most recently at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, Berlinische Galerie, Pingyao International Photography Festival, MACRO Testaccio, Museo D’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Houston Center for Photography, Bloomingdale’s, New York, Flowers Gallery, The Association of Photographers Gallery, Platform for Art, Piccadilly Circus Station and National Trust Gallery, Osterley House in London and at the Hereford Photography Festival. His work is featured in many important national and international collections including those of the National Portrait Gallery and Imperial War Museum in London, The George Eastman House, Rochester and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

He is a regular participant in talks and symposia and has most recently presented Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out at the House of Lords, London, Captivity in Twentieth Century Warfare: Archives, History, Memory, at the École Militaire, Paris, Medium & Message: Conflict Photography in the Digital Era, at the University College, Dublin, Remembering Guantanamo, at the Columbia University, New York and The Political Life of Things, at the Imperial War Museum, London. He has also worked as an Artist-in-Residence for the National Trust in Britain. Clark’s work has been recognised with numerous awards including: The Royal Photographic Society Award, Hood Medal (2011), Best Book Award at the New York Photo Awards (2011), Lucie Awards, International Photographer of the Year, Book Category (2011), Best Book of The Year selection at the International Photobook Festival, Kassel (2011) and Best Personal Work, Photo District News Annual (2011).