During May 2010, photographer Craig MacLean worked with NGS Outreach Officer Richie Cumming and make-up artist Heather Chan to produce Cindy Sherman inspired portraits with women in HMP Greenock.

The women were asked to discuss a range of portraits from the national art collection. Particular attention was given to the work of Sherman, but the work and life Francesca Woodman was also discussed at great length and was inspirational for many of the participants.

Working together in small groups, the women helped each other develop a fictional character to portray in a portrait photograph. The characters created were to reflect an element of their own personality, situation, hopes or regrets.

The first sessions were spent taking exploratory photographs, thinking about costumes, make-up and composition, before two days of photo shoots in the prison’s Vocational Training, Painting and Decorating workshop, which was turned into a professional photography studio.

Participants were given the opportunity to view and discuss all the images they produced and to clear them for public display after reflection, several weeks after the main project activity took place.

Space², Providence, Rhode Island, 1975 - 1978, Francesca Woodman, 1975 − © Courtesy of George and Betty Woodman