In October of last year, when I posted on Jane Evelyn Atwood‘s documentary work from women’s prisons across the globe, the pictures and the message were well received.
Better still, is to listen to Atwood discuss the her photography and its lessons for us all. Her common observation across all women’s prisons is women are very often incarcerated because of the men in their life. They are abused, pimped into prostitution, inducted into crime, manipulated emotionally, and backed into corners – from which retaliatory violence is their only remaining option.
Persevere through the irritating, news-studio interview formula and you’ll be rewarded with Atwood’s insight.
Atwood is currently campaigning on behalf of Gaile Owens, the only woman on death row in Tennessee. During the original trial Owens did not testify to the full degree of the domestic abuse she suffered; she wanted to protect her children from the truth. The result was the absense of mitigating circumstances during consideration of the verdict.
Owens’ execution date has been set for September 18th, 2010. A movement is underway to see her death sentence commuted to life without parole. Visit http://www.friendsofgaile.com/ for all the information on the case and the opportunity to sign a petition.
Atwood is emotionally submerged in her work, close to her subjects. Any distinction between photographer and subject maybe unwanted; “Gaile is a battered woman on death row. And she needs our support.” This statement, as with Atwood’s work, goes to the heart of the most urgent advocacy – that which is motivated by empathy and kinship.