Carl De Keyzer started out as a freelance photographer in 1982. Since 1994 he has been a full-time member of the leading photographic cooperative Magnum. De Keyzer likes to tackle large-scale projects. His work is documentary in nature and covers a wide range of themes. A basic premise of much of his work is that ‘in overpopulated communities everywhere, disaster has already struck and infrastructures are on the verge of collapse’. He has made series about, for instance, India (1985), the fall of the Soviet Union (1989) and the vestiges of the Belgian Congo (2009).
Carl De Keyzer’s photographic journal Zona documents daily life in 35 of the 135 prison camps in Krasnoyarsk, a region of Siberia as large as Europe. The camps house a free labour force of around a million men and women, under the control of one general. They are the former gulags Joseph Stalin had built in the 1930s, which at the time held more than twelve million prisoners. The 243 images are the result of De Keyzer’s several visits to the prisoners between 2000 and 2002.