A few months ago Bob Gumpert and I sat down and talked at length about the reasons why photographers should endeavour to tell the stories of social movements, workers rights, crime, justice and injustice. The conversation rolled and rolled which partly explains why the edited interview hasn’t surfaced yet.
Bob’s activism emerged in the Labor Movement of the 1970s. He began documenting the criminal justice system by following police officers and public defenders in the San Francisco Bay Area. From there he traversed to tell the stories of people in the jail and probation systems.
This morning I received this email:
As some of you know, since 1994 I’ve been documenting the criminal justice system. There is now a website for the latest segment of “Lost Promise: The Criminal Justice System.”
“Take A Picture, Tell A Story” is where you can find portraits and recorded stories from the two major projects of my 35 years in documentary photography. In “Locked and Found” prisoners in the county jails of San Francisco tell stories of their circumstances, hopes and sorrows. In “Tales of Work” workers tell of their lives and their jobs.
So don’t wait for my interview to familiarise yourself with Bob’s work. Listen to the tales he’s recorded – they reflect the complexities that rattle about in an inevitably inflexible system that deals with hundreds of thousands of individuals.