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A temporary gig as a set photographer took Jordana Hall to San Quentin State Prison; her heart and consciousness propelled countless return visits. She has worked particularly closely with men who were convicted when juvenile (under 18) and were sentenced to life in prison.
Hall has worked as a volunteer in existing programs; launched her own project that melds poetry, family letters, snapshots and her own portraits; and visited the hometowns and families of prisoners. The ongoing body of work Home Is Not Here is part of Hall’s senior thesis exhibition. It will be on show – beginning April 2013 – at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
I wanted to learn more about Hall’s motives and discoveries.
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Prison Photography (PP): How did you get access to San Quentin State Prison?
Jordana Hall (JH): My work at San Quentin started in June 2011. I was hired as the set photographer for a documentary (working title, Crying Sideways) by SugarBeets Productions. The documentary details the stories of a group inside San Quentin called KIDCAT (Kids Creating Awareness Together).
PP: KIDCAT is a group of lifers sentenced as juveniles, correct?
JH: Yes, you can follow KIDCAT on Facebook.
PP: They describe themselves as “men who grew up in prison and as a group have matured into a community that cares for others, is responsible to others, and accountable for their own actions.”
JH: I began attending KIDCAT’s bi-weekly group meetings as a volunteer. During this period of volunteering, I developed a working relationship with the members of KIDCAT. Showing up when I said I would, being accountable, and most of all keeping an open mind and heart while inside re-assured the men of KIDCAT that I was a trustworthy member.
Then in June 2012, I started working on my senior thesis for my Photojournalism BFA at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. I approached Lieutenant Sam Robinson, Public Information Officer at San Quentin, with the idea of starting the “Home Is Not Here” project. If I had not had the relationship that I do with the men of KIDCAT, Sam would not have been so willing to help. It really is this relationship that I have with the group that has allowed me so many opportunities to continue my work there. I’ve been going into San Quentin for a year and a half now, and have only been able to bring my camera three times.
To be granted access to San Quentin – even minimal access – requires a lot of work. There needs to be a legitimate return for the prison community. In my case, publishing my work to Young Photographer’s Alliance, posting to my website, and eventually in an exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art was enough justification for the prison to allow me to continue working inside.
I never take my access for granted.
There are strict rules about what you can and cannot do, wear and say. If I slip up – even just a little – my access is on the line.
PP: Why did you take on the project?
JH: After hearing the inmate’s stories during the documentary filming, I realized that all of them were just teenagers who were dealt a bad hand. This is not to say they don’t take responsibility for what they did. They definitely do. Their stories resonated to my core; the stories would impact anyone who heard them. I left the prison gates that day realizing that they could be my brother, father, or best friend. I began to think about their families. Most of the men in the group are in their mid-thirties; they have spent more than half of their lives in prison. I thought about how they struggle to keep working relationships with their loved ones for so many years through the prison walls. That wondering led me to my senior thesis project.
Home Is Not Here documents the relationships between an incarcerated person and his family. I seek out the ways in which their relationship can be kept when there are so many barriers involved.
PP: What have you learnt?
JH: I’ve learned that the families of incarcerated people are the least documented victims of crime. Communities shun them for “raising a criminal.” There are limited resources available for them to get help. These families mourn the loss of their loved one’s free life with little to no support.
I learned the truth in the statement, “When one person is incarcerated, at least five people ‘serve the time’ with them.” I have seen family members go about their daily lives with a piece of their heart locked away in prison.
JH: I learned that letters from a child to their “Tio Miguel” (who they have never met outside of prison visitations) would break your heart. I learned that even the toughest looking men still get tears in their eyes when you ask about their family.
I am still learning.
PP: What did the prisoners think of being photographed?
JH: The first day they were most interested in seeing how a digital camera works. I am very hands-on with my subjects, and with the permission of Lt. Sam Robinson, I handed my second camera body to the guys to play with on the breaks during filming. It was both funny as well as saddening to watch their amazement at the foreign device.
The first time I went in, I asked to see an inmate’s cell. The guys all looked at each other, waiting for someone to volunteer. One by one they denied my request to see their space. We ended up going to a stranger’s cell, just so I could poke my head in from the door. Soon after, I fully realized the shame that comes over them when asked about their cells. It is the only space that is their own, but it also the cage they are locked in at night. These 6 x 12 cement cages are a place both of safety and of degradation.
After I stuck around for a year, I approached the cell situation, again. This time they were excited to show me their space. Their family photos on the wall, bookshelf with notebooks, sketchbooks, and wall markings left from previous inmates. “Stay Focused” was scrawled into the yellowed paint next to the metal bunk. It took some time and a lot of trust building for me to get on that level with them.
PP: Did you give the men prints?
JH: Giving the guys the prints is absolutely one of my favorite parts!
The Home Is Not Here project had me traveling to the hometowns of three men. I went with only small clues of what and where to photograph – “The Dairy Queen where I took my first girlfriend on my first date,” or “The restaurant named after the city in Vietnam where my family was from.”
When I brought back prints from my trips, the guys were blown away by how much had changed, and how much had stayed the same.
I was asked by one inmate to visit the grave of his grandmother. They were extremely close and she passed away while he was in prison. When he saw the photograph I took there, he began to cry. It was almost as if I had delivered him a physical place to grieve her passing.
I try to give back to my subjects as much as I can. I try not to be that photographer that comes in, gets the story, and never comes back. They give so much of themselves when they allow me to photograph them, giving prints to them is the least I can do.
PP: What did the staff think of being photographed?
JH: I never photographed the staff, although some day I hope to see some really thorough work done about the people who work in prisons. It would be a fascinating story.
PP: I agree. I’ve yet to see a photography project that suitably deals sympathetically and deeply the complex and stressful dynamics of correctional officers’ work and lives.
PP: Could photography serve a rehabilitative role, if used in a workshop format in prisons?
JH: I think a workshop on photography in a prison would be an incredible idea. These men are so introspective and have so much to offer, creatively. The documentation of life inside prison by an inmate could offer such insight for us all.
PP: Are prisoners invisible?
JH: Yes, I believe prisoners are invisible. Everything about the prison system is set up for them to be invisible, and stay invisible. To be silenced, and out of sight. What I aim to do with this project is to shed some light on a piece of an inmate’s life that is not seen. When people think prison photography they think of hardened criminals, drug addicts, grimy hands gripping cell door bars, and the underbelly of society. I am offering the alternative viewpoint, which is the humanity inside. These men are fathers, sons, brothers, friends, and they all have people who care about them. They also have built communities of support for each other, inside.
PP: What’s been the feedback to your the work?
JH: As I work I like to get feedback from my peers. A lot of people who see photographs of inmates and due to their preconceived notions will shake their head and walk away thinking, “What monsters…” but with the work I do, I try to side step this notion and say, “No, look closer.”
No matter what I do, some people will never see it the way I’d like them to, but for people who can be open-minded, the work gives an inside look to the humanity that exists inside prison, and awareness of the struggles of their families.
PP: Anything else you’d like to add?
JH: As I move forward in my thesis, I am turning my focus to just one inmate in particular, Miguel Quezada. This is the working statement:
“Estamos Contigo (We Are With You)” - Miguel Quezada (below) was incarcerated at age 16. Now 31, he has spent half of his entire life in prison. Due to a harsh judicial decision that he should serve his sentences consecutively, his first parole hearing is not until the year 2040. He will be 60 years old. Home, for Miguel, rests between the realities of life at San Quentin Prison today, memories of his childhood cut short, and dreams of a faraway tomorrow. His family shares this stress, mourning the loss of their loved one’s free life. From the part of South Modesto, California known for its lack of sidewalks and high crime rate, Miguel grew up in poverty with his parents who immigrated from Mexico. His mother and father, Arturo and Lucila, are almost completely illiterate, so writing letters takes a lot of time and energy. Miguel appreciates it when they do write, but loves when they send photographs. His nieces and nephew, who he has never met outside of prison visitations, write him frequently and give him a sense of connectivity to the outside world. Miguel is one of hundreds of men in the state of California with similar stories – serving life for a mistake made as a teenager. The barriers of the prison walls will never restrain the emotional longing of one human being to be with another.
PP: We look forward to checking in again soon. Thanks, Jordana.
JH: Thank you.
Adrian Clarke‘s portraits of female former prisoners in the UK are up front and honest. The ladies insisted they go on the record and speak openly about their experiences in HMP Low Newton, an unremarkable small prison for women and young offenders in the north of England. Each woman reported only good treatment during their incarceration.
Clarke’s work is not sugar-coated. He doesn’t have the answers and his subjects, some of whom have ongoing drug addiction struggles, are searching for them.
The women – although aware of their tough lives – do not paint themselves as victims. They want to step up and take responsibility but when you’re that far down it takes a Herculean effort to wright the ship.
Low Newton, like all good portrait series, offers insight. But it does not tie the loose ends. I am left to wonder about the different definitions of normalcy we carry in our day today lives and if these women will find their own versions of normalcy and stability.
Mostly, Low Newton deserves attention because it appears to reflect a complete respect between photographer and subject.
Adrian Clarke’s portraits of female former prisoners are in the latest issue of The Paris Review.
“I see a dam. […] For five friends since birth this has been our sanctuary we have retreated to since we found it on our explorations off the beaten path as kids. We have come to celebrate, mourn and hide.”
For his participatory project, Some Other Places We’ve Missed artist and photographer Mark Strandquist held workshops in various jails and prisons, and asked prisoners, “If you had a window in your cell, what place from your past would it look out to?”
Along with the written descriptions, individuals provided a detailed memory from the chosen location, and described how they wanted the photograph composed.
Strandquist then photographed and a image is handed or mailed back to the incarcerated participants. The size of photographs he made and later exhibited were/are consistent with the restrictions imposed on pictures sent into prisons.
It’s a strong project that involves many different groups. It attempts to build connections where none exist. If one artist can achieve this, think what a whole posse could accomplish?
The scanned letters are difficult to read at this size; I recommend using you COMMAND + keys to enlarge the page and jpegs.
[Keep reading below]
“Right outside my window is my mom’s house.”
“The neighborhood was middle class, nice, where everyone knew everyone. One great lady taking care of us all – grandmother; Big Momma for short. The house set on fire when one cousin playing with matches. Had to move into government owned property. Family split up. Never as close as before. Miss the love. Home base.”
“Here I was standing behind our freshman quarterback staring down the opposition’s defense, 68 yards from the end zone. […] The outside linebacker took a great angle and I thought I’d be shoved out of bounds. Quickly I stiff-arms shim and broke free down the sideline … before my first touchdown as a senior. What I want most is for you guys to know is that hard work and dedication definitely pay off.”
In some ways the work is similar to the Tamms Year Ten Photography Project that asked Illinois prisoners in solitary confinement to describe one image they would like on their cell wall (and which I featured a couple of weeks ago).
Upon encountering the Tamms Year Ten Photography Project, Strandquist was “blown away”, yet he identifies differences between methodolgies.
“The Tamms Year Ten Photography Project is a really challenging project, but there’s so much to love – its diffusion of authorship; its performative aspects of individuals seeking out public spaces to make these images; and its deconstruction of fine art aesthetics,” says Strandquist.
“I believe the form and function of Some Other Places We’ve Missed moves in different, hopefully equally powerful ways. My project is as much about creating a window for the incarcerated participants as it is about creating a window for the public, a meeting ground where each participant’s challenging memories and realities mix with images shot intentionally to facilitate open associations. Part of me wants to hear the stories behind the Tamms requests … but maybe that’s the voyeur in me?” adds Strandquist.
In this case, a will toward voyeurism (to use Strandquist’s term) would indicate that the Tamms Year Ten Photography Project succeeded; it draws audience members in, to then go ahead under their own steam to learn more about the issue, the systems and the people within.
[Keep reading below]
“I’m staring at a place where I once was a child. A confused little boy in search of some meaning. 7 years of age in an urban apartment complex with no parental direction.”
“My memories of my old house are both good and bad. Playing games, watching TV and just hanging out with my older brother. There were bad times that made me see things different – My mom kicking my dad out, my dad beating my mom, my mom leaving with no goodbyes, to seeing my brother every blue moon. What makes this house so special is it’s the last time everyone was under one roof.”
“… all my mom wanted was for my to finish high school. I want to make that up for that with going to college.”
“I miss the feeling of waking up early in the morning to the TV still being on and hearing my little sisters and brothers tearing the house down […] Sometimes it’s the little things that you never pay attention to that can effect you the most in the future.”
If you, or someone you know is incarcerated, and would be interested in participating in the project, you can email Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org
Strandquist recently exhibited Some Other Places We’ve Missed at Anderson Gallery in Richmond, VA. His interactive installation featured weekly prison letter writing workshops and a space to donate books to the local chapter of Books to Prisoners.
Visitors were given the opportunity to take with them copies of written statements by the incarcerated participant about the space to which they wish they had a window.
Mark Strandquist is a multi-media artist and curator based in Richmond, VA, who creates work that incorporates viewers as direct participants, features histories that are typically distorted or ignored, and blurs the boundary between artistic practice and social engagement. His work has been featured in various film festivals and independent galleries as well as a current exhibit at the Art Museum of Americas in Washington, DC. He is currently working on a BFA at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has a Tumblr.
‘Steph’ © Tony Foushe
There’s two things I hope you’ll carry away from this post. Firstly, the importance of Live Through This a photo series resulting from a-two year collaboration between Tony Fouhse and Stephanie. Secondly, that Tony has established Straylight Press to get limited-edition books and zines in the hands of photo-lovers. Live Through This is Straylight’s first publication.
To regular readers, Tony Fouhse will not be a new name. I’ve always admired Tony’s honest, weekly updates about his ongoing work, emotions and process. In my capacity as a Wired.com blogger, I recommended his blog drool as a top read.
LIVE THROUGH THIS
Four years ago, Tony began shooting USER, portraits of crack and heroin addicts on a single Ottawa city block. During that time, he met Stephanie, noticed something different about her, and asked, “Is there anything I can do to help?” She said she wanted help getting clean.
From that point it’s a long story of great-strides, trauma, dope sickness, humour, sunlight and friendship. Often photographers may distance themselves from the world by saying they’re mere observers. In the case of photojournalism, so-called objectivity sometimes excuses camera-persons from getting involved in even small practical ways to help those they photograph.
Tony is not a photojournalist and he is no hero either; he’s a guy that offered to help someone whose needs were greater than most. If you want to venture into the drool archives, Tony has told the story in great detail. Alternatively, Tony wrote a five-part series about his and Steph’s journey for the ever-excellent NPAC blog [one, two, three, four, five].
In December, Steph had a wobble and ended up in jail. In January, when I read Steph’s words about her court hearing it was clear that Tony has had a life-changing effect on her life:
When I went to Halifax I sat in front of the judge and the crown was asking for 4-6 months and my lawyer asked for probation and sure enough I got it. Then, when I went to Pictou courts my lawyer asked for 6 months house arrest and he got it too […] if it wasn’t for my lawyer in Halifax I would of been fucked. He fought for me to do house arrest because I did so much in the last year, like, he brought up how when I lived in Ottawa I met this man named Tony Fouhse was gonna help me get into a rehab called the R.O Royal Ottawa but I never came to the rehab because I ended up growing a cyst on my brain and how Tony ended up helping me ween from using Heroin to 1 4mg dillie (Dilaudid) a day and sent me home to my family where I could sober up and become a clean mom and we did a project of my life on the street.
It’s a bit embarrassing it’s taken me six months to share my wonder. As well as being photo-rich, Steph and Tony’s journey is a really compelling story. Live Through This is one of the most interesting photography projects I’ve followed in recent years.
Live Through This is all the more impressive because Tony and Steph have taken it upon themselves to promote, produce and distribute it. Tony describes Straylight Press as a “vehicle to produce and disseminate printed photo matter.”
Future projects include the unflinching work of Scot Sothern and Brett Gundlock’s Prisoners (which I saluted in the past) so it is exciting times. The idea is that the success of one project feeds the next, so if enough copies of Live Through This sell then profits go into producing the next photographer’s book. It’s a pre-sales fundraising model. In addition, Straylight zines are fairly inexpensive and the intent is to produce 3 or 4 each year.
“Straylight is kind of like a Kickstarter, but with more long-term commitment to projects that aren’t just my own,” says Tony. “Kickstarter projects, while a good and interesting idea, seem to me to be too much about the individual. Not that I have anything against that, after all, you need an ego to be a photographer. But …”
Last month, Tony talked with the Ottawa Citizen about Straylight: Tony Fouhse opens photo-book publishing house – and web gurus be damned.
Tony is flogging prints, books and workshops to raise money for Straylight projects.
In 2010, photographer Patrick Gilliéron Lopreno visited three Swiss prisons and created the series Puzzle Carceral. Yesterday, I featured a select edit from Puzzle Carceral.
During his year spent on the project, Patrick doubled down on the photo-interventions with a prison photo workshop. Once a week, for two months, he met with prisoners of La Brenaz prison in Geneva. Some of the images are simple point-and-shoot portraits; some are documents of living conditions; others such as the image of an Islamic prayer-mat or the image of a low-lit corridor are more meditative.
I asked Patrick some questions about the experience and he provided a selection of prisoner-made images from the workshop.
Q & A
A workshop is very different to a single photographer, you, making images. What made you decide to put cameras in the hands of prisoners? What were your aims?
The idea was to produce a report with the prisoners on their conditions of detention. What mattered to me was their view of their confinement.
What did they want to do or convey with their photography?
For them the workshop was primarily a time of separation from their prison life. I did not claim to provide them with training and that was clear from the outset. Some men realised that they were able to make beautiful images and for once they made something others could compliment; they became creative.
What negotiations did you go through to conduct the workshop?
The social worker of the prison has helped me tremendously. She brought me into contact with inmates who wanted to participate in this workshop. I never asked for money from the prison for my class because I did not want to be paid. I wanted to stay as independent as possible and retain complete control.
Is a camera not a security hazard inside of a prison?
A camera in prison is never welcome – not for the prison [administration] or for the prisoners. I was not there to make pictures for the inmates’ files. I always asked each prisoner’s permission to use his image.
What stood out about the prisoners work? Any photographs that surprised you?
I was dazzled by the artistic and poetic qualities of their pictures. The best photos were developed and printed on large sheets and then exhibited in the prison.
The Prison Library Project receives hundreds of letters every week from inmates across the country. These letters requesting books and dictionaries, are often beautifully illustrated. In the spirit of these talented prison artists the Postmarked show was created, using the envelope as a canvas to create and share mail art.
The art of letter writing and the use of “snail mail” is on the decline, a casualty of the electronic age. But who among us does not smile when we received a letter in our mailbox? Who doesn’t thrill to find art instead of junk mail and bills? The Postmarked show is a chance for all of us to reconnect with the magic of “snail mail” while helping a population whose voice, if heard at all, is limited to the humble envelope, letter and pen.
Interested participants may decorate, illustrate or create art on an envelope and mail it in for the Postmarked mail art exhibition and fundraiser. Send submissions to:
Prison Library Project
112 Harvard #303
Claremont CA 91711
Entries must be postmarked by September 30, 2012.
Only the side with the official USPS Postmark/barcode will be displayed. Mail art may be painted, stamped, collaged, printed, decorated or constructed. It may be any shape and size that will go through the mail and receive an official postmark.
“Mail may get worn or torn through the mail, but the handling process is an important part of the theme,” says organiser, Rachel McDonnell
Mail will be opened only by the person who purchases the art envelope.
Exhibition: October 5 – November 2 at the Claremont Forum Bookshop & Gallery. Opening Reception: Friday, October 5 Final Bid Party: Friday, November 2, 6:30 – 8:00pm
For more information, see PLP’s Postmarked blog or contact Rachel McDonnell at email@example.com
The Prison Library Project is a prison book and literacy program which sends thousands of books, study aids, educational and spiritual resources to inmates nationwide.
Artist’s impression of projected cellphone imagery.
Stop, a video installation will put faces to the numbers – hundreds of thousands – of people who are unjustly detained by police.
“Stop will be a projection of portraits of several youth from East New York, Brooklyn and Liverpool, UK. Brooklyn will be on one wall and Liverpool will face them on the other. The life-sized projections will stand and face each other, the audience will be in the middle. Over time, each of the young adults will reveal how many times they have each been stopped by the police during their lifetime. The youth will be having a virtual “conversation” across an ocean with each other as well as with the audience.”
Yesterday, I posted a long conversation with Nina Berman about Stop & Frisk. Berman had not found any other fellow photographers working on the issue of Stop & Frisk. I found one other photographer (who’s work is ongoing and wishes not to publicize it yet) and one artist – Dread Scott.
Dread’s a lovely guy; I’ve written about his work on the prison industrial complex before and I interviewed him last year during PPOTR. Here’s what he says about this Stop & Frisk and this project:
“Last year, New York police stopped almost 700,000 people as part of their “Stop and Frisk” policy. The overwhelming majority, about 90%, were doing nothing wrong at the time and were completely innocent. Most were young and Black or Latino. A similar policy exists in Liverpool and developed after NY police chief William Bratton was invited to be a consultant in another UK city, Hartlepool, in 1996.”
It should be added that UK Prime Minister David Cameron wanted to appoint Bratton as Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service following the London Riots of August 2011. Cameron was later overruled by Home Secretary Theresa May, who insisted that only a British citizen should be able to run the Service.
Dread has led photography and art workshops with young adults from East NY Brooklyn (a neighborhood with one of the city’s highest police Stop and Frisk rates) and Joann has been working with similar youth in Liverpool. Using cell phones, students have made a powerful series of photographs about their neighborhoods and lives.
Stop will be exhibited in Rush Arts Gallery, NYC from September 13th, 2012.
Kickstarter has definitely reached its saturation point; The Onion’s take made me laugh hardest.
But you don’t even need to feel guilty about this one; Dread’s already reached his target (sure, he’d like a little extra: who doesn’t?)
What’s more important is the message of his work. Until now, I’ve never seen connections made between the US and the UK – between New York and Liverpool – over the Stop & Frisk issue. The issue is rarely framed within the context of youth; we don’t think of the victims as kids … but in many cases they are.
Stop & Frisk is a canary issue. How the controversy resolves itself will be an indication of whether we have progressed; if we are interested and involved in the welfare of others, or if we remain indifferent. It’s driven by Homeland Security dollars and it messes with peoples’ lives. It’s born out of a divided society, just as prisons were. Now the heavy-handed response is on peoples’ doorsteps.
Nigel Poor (left and Doug Dertinger (right).
The intersection of photography and prisons doesn’t always manifest as a photographer pointing his or her lens at incarcerated people.
Photography – or more specifically the discussion of it and associated issues – can enter relationships, education, exchange. Both the practice and theory of photography can be taught and learned within prisons.
Last September, Nigel Poor, Associate Professor of Photography at California State University, Sacramento contacted me to tell me about her volunteer role teaching the History of Photography at San Quentin State Prison. I was blown away. Never before had I come across a photo history class taught behind bars. Immediately, I made arrangements to meet Nigel and her co-teacher and fellow CSUS professor Doug Dertinger.
As faculty, Poor and Dertinger adapted their existing CSUS syllabus, covering photography from 1970 to the present. However, the California Department of Corrections understandably wanted veto power over slides presented during the course.
Depictions of drugs, violence, sex, children, nudity are problematic for prison administrations … “Which is about 95% of photography,” points out Poor.
Poor and Dertinger were helped out by the experience of Jody Lewen, director of the Prison University Project at San Quentin. Lewen is insistent that PUP teachers do not self-censor, but respectfully present their preferred teaching material and allow the burden – and justification – for any censorship to fall upon the prison administration.
The interaction, therefore, was unorthodox but successful: Poor presented her entire 12 week course to Scott Kernan, Under Secretary to the CDCr (now retired) and to Mike Martel, the then Warden at San Quentin … in two hours!
Of the entire course, only four images were deemed unsuitable, a surprising but pleasing result that Poor describes as “a triumph.”
With Poor focusing on portraits and Dertinger focusing on land use and media, they quickly schooled their students in line, formal composition and leapt from there into sophisticated readings of images.
“I told them the photograph is like a crime scene,” says Poor, “and it is ours from which to draw evidence.”
Poor and Dertinger talk about what a life-affirming experience teaching inside proved to be; about how the men in San Quentin were the “most present students” they’ve ever taught; how invigorating it is to have a passion that isn’t only about oneself; and about the responsibility to educate people in free society about the potential of incarcerated people, a “veiled population.”
“They were ready to travel,” says Dertinger of the students’ willingness to unleash their own emotions and imagination upon photographs read.
Interestingly, the idea that the photograph was not – is not – a reflection of truth was disconcerting for the many of the students. Obviously, the reliability, or not, of narrative and testimony may have had a more profound effect on the reality of their lives as compared to others not subject to the criminal justice system. If you can’t use the language of truth and reality when discussing photography (popularly considered to be objective), then can you use those concepts when discussing your own life?
We end the conversation on a high note: One of the students wrote a comparative analysis of Richard Misrach’s Drive-In Theatre, Las Vegas and one of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Theatres. He wrote a 9-page essay during a four-week solitary confinement stint. He concluded Misrach’s work is about space; Sugimoto’s about time.
So impressed were Poor and Dertinger they got the essay into Misrach’s hands … and he read the essay to an audience of 2,500 at the November Pop-Up Magazine Event in San Francisco.
LISTEN TO OUR CONVERSATION AT THE PRISON PHOTOGRAPHY PODBEAN PAGE