After my post about Safe Harbour series, the photographer Jeff Barnett-Winsby (diviner of pure-story-gold) got in touch. He told me he was going to advance the project further than the web-housed stills and weave the tale of escaped prisoner, manipulated lover and fugitive love-run into a book.
A year into his project, he found out that in February 2006, a convicted killer named John Maynard had escaped from the prison, concealed inside a dog crate, with the help of a volunteer who worked at the facility named Toby Young. Maynard and Young, operating under the aliases Mark West and Molly Rose, were captured two weeks later, after a high-speed chase, in Tennessee.
Illustrated in color and black and white, this book is a collection of Barnett-Winsby’s photographs of and correspondence with the two lovers, both before and after the escape, and a unique record of an extraordinary tale of escape. “I have always been fascinated with loneliness and the outsider in society,” Barnett-Winsby writes, of his attraction to West and Rose’s extraordinary story. “Growing up, I felt pretty out of it (who doesn’t?) and was always in trouble for something.” His reconstructed narrative of their tale constitutes a highly original portrait.
This is a wacky tale and a swift departure from the serious stuff that often weighs heavy on the soul at Prison Photography. Perhaps that why I like it so much. Buy Mark West and Molly Rose.