For more than a year Italian photojournalist Clara Vannucci focused her attention — and her lens — on the subject of bail, photographing a group of bounty hunters; one self-proclaimed, Brooklyn-based “Bail Boss”; and his many customers. “It took me two years to understand how it really works. How a bondsman makes money,” says Vannucci.
The collection of images, photographed between December 2012 and February 2014, was published last year in the book, “Bail Bond: Defendants, Bondsmen & Bounty Hunters.” Vannucci’s previous projects documented the lives of people behind bars; a theater troupe at a prison in Tuscany and, more recently, the Battered Women’s Unit at Rikers Island.
It was during that project, in 2012, that she met a bondsman, Bobby Zouvelos, who worked for his brother, George Zouvelos, the “Bail Boss” (in 2013, Zouvelos lost his license and is now a private investigator and bounty hunter). One of his former customers, Warren (photographed below), had spent 11 years in prison on a robbery conviction. He was rearrested in 2012 for illegal gun possession and released on bail, during which time he became a central subject of Vannucci’s book. “He let me into his life,” Vannucci said. “I wanted to make a parallel between the defendant and the bail bondsman…. Even though they are so different, in the end, they’re people.”
Photographs from “Bail Bond” will be on view at George Zouvelos’s office in Brooklyn, New York from April 25 until May 9.