For over two years, photographer Clara Vannucci worked with bounty hunters and bail bondsmen, documenting their everyday lives. “I wanted to understand how the bail bond system works, and meet the defendants,” she tells PDN via email. “During the day I was at the office in a very small room full of boxes, making portraits of them. During the night I went out with the hunters looking for fugitives.” The project began in December 2012, after meeting Bobby Zouvelos, who works with bondsman and bounty hunters. After a few months of getting to know each other, Zouvelos introduced Vannucci to his brother, George, aka “the Bail Boss,” who later became the subject of many of her images. Vannucci, who was born in Italy, says the bail bond system was something she wanted to learn more about and felt that spending time with them (she estimates six months, off-and-on) was the best way. “I spent most of the time in the truck on stakeouts, studying the case, eating shitty food, listening to hip hop music and basically waiting for something to happen.” Her project became a book, Bail Bond: Bondsmen, Defendants and Bounty Hunters (produced and published by Fabrica Editorial, May 2014), and in it Vannucci weaves together “stories of defendants, bondsmen and bounty hunters in today’s New York and offers a visual narrative of an unexplored zone in the United States legal system, where crime and security clash and merge.”
Vannucci was born in Florence, Italy, and after receiving a degree in graphic design at the University of Architecture in Florence, pursued photography instead. Her projects to date have related to crime and punishment, including a series about the battered women section of Rikers Island, which she began after interning at Magnum Photos, and assisting photojournalist Donna Ferrato. Vannucci is represented by Daria Bonera Agency.