Of all the prison photographers in all of the U.S., Richard Ross is the probably the best at getting his work in front of eyeballs. I think that’s because he asks a lot and often.And because his images are compelling.
This past week, Ross showcased works form his latest book Girls In Justice on PBS News Hour.
By virtue of the sheer breadth of his survey of juvenile prisons, here’s a case of a photographer actually showing us things we wouldn’t otherwise see. The photographic medium is often hailed as being (almost magically) revelatory, but how often is that actually the case. It’s harder and harder to show people something they’ve NEVER seen before. That’s why closed prisons such as systems provide such an interesting locus for inquiry and why I continue my research.
“I’m not a sociologist, I’m just the schmuck on the floor trying to make sense of all this,” says Ross.
Also, check out my essay What Are We Doing Here? (cross-posted to Medium) for the current Try Youth As Youth (TYAY) exhibition as David Weinberg Photography in Chicago. Ross is one of four artists in TYAY, a gallery show that is forcing the debate forward, and endorsing the ACLU in Illinois’ latest campaign against trying children as adults.