Church within West Virginia Penitentiary, 2011

Emily Kinni, recent recipient of a Tierney Fellowship, presents nine images in her series Execution Chambers (Update: 10.09.12) work no longer online).

The title is a little misleading as these are not all images of execution chambers and certainly not images of prisons in which the death penalty is still carried out; New Jersey State Prison was the site of executions until the Garden State outlawed the death penalty in 2007, and West Virginia Penitentiary ceased as the site of state executions in 1959.

West Virginia Penitentiary itself was decommissioned in 1986 and has since become a tourist destination; on view is ‘Old Sparky‘, the prison’s once-used electric chair. Kinni photographed a basketball court where the execution chamber used to be sited.

Kinni’s project, therefore, with a lack of significant captions or project brief (certainly the case on her website, but not the Tierney website) is a little misleading and confusing. But this is a young project and potentially still in the making. Having being named a Tierney Fellow though, it is likely Kinni will move away from this subject matter. The primary goal of the Tierney Fellowship is:

“to find tomorrow’s distinguished artists and leaders in the world of photography and assist them in overcoming the challenges that a photographer faces at the beginning of his or her career. [...] At the end of the one-year grant period, recipients are expected to present a new body of work.”

We’ll keep our eyes peeled.

As a footnote, comparable projects on death chambers would be Lucinda Devlin’s Omega Suites and Mark Jenkinson’s Death Row.

Thanks to Hester for the tip off. View the other 2011 Tierney Fellows here.

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