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Ted Kaczynski’s Sunglasses. © U.S. Marshals

It may well have been one of the weirdest auctions in American history. Last month, courts order federal authorities to auction off Ted Kaczynski’s belongings in order to raise money for his victims. The auction closed Thursday 2nd June.

Kaczynski, dubbed the Unabomber, pleaded guilty in 1998 to a 20-year spree of bombings that killed three people and wounded 23.

U.S. Marshals used Flickr to post 51 images of the items included in the macabre auction — the first time the site has been used by U.S. Marshals for a sale — to presumably both reach out to and assist potential buyers.

In the press release, U.S. Marshals explained,”We will use the technology that Kaczynski railed against in his various manifestos to sell artifacts of his life. The proceeds will go to his victims.”

David Kravets writes for Threat Level blog, “Kaczynski’s so-called “manifesto” in which he railed against technology, sold for $20,053. In all, the auction raised more than $232,000. ”

Found via the liberator magazine.

P.S. The U.S. Marshals also have auctions of camera equipment.

This is a neat idea. It tells you nothing about football, but a lot about massive environmental change, process or flux.

I am a huge fan of the Flickr Commons Project.

I have published on The Hidden Gems of Flickr Commons for Wired‘s photography blog Raw File.

For their documents of (early) 20th century fishing & skiing; industry & leisure; mountains and deserts of the Pacific Northwest, my favourite institutions are The Oregon State University and the Commons’ newest member, The University of Washington!

I have always been taken by the photographic sets out of the London School of Economics. The LSE archive has great emphasis on its department faculty; administrative staff; extra-curricula activities; student events; laboratory tableaux; campus vistas; college anniversaries; and guests of the famed school. It’s an archive with a likable and unpretentious institutional identity.

The LSE Library set contains dozens of portraits of the library scientists and staff.

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Sunday night/Monday morning (depending on your seaboard) was the point in which my first professionally recognized byline hit the internets.

The piece, Hidden Gems From the Flickr Commons, is a walk through my Wired’s personal favourites. The crux of my pitch to Wired was that we all need to get out from under the mass-consumed images of the FSA/OWI archives.

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Wired’s new blog Raw File deals specifically with photography and is marshaled by a close friend Keith Axline. Keith held out a hand and gave me a finite amount of time to grab hold. I’m glad I didn’t pass up the opportunity.

There’ll be more to come in the future. And I’ll probably force it down your necks again. If you’ve seen me relentlessly plug Raw File material these past few weeks on my Twitter stream, you now know why.

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Top Image: Screenshot

Middle Image: Canthigaster rostrata, Inflated (Caribbean Sharp-Nose Puffer), Belize Larval-Fish Group 2005, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute Collection.  Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro 12.3-megapixel camera with a 105-millimeter f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor lens and dual Nikon SB28 flash units. (Source)

Bottom Image: Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in cage at Lincoln Park Zoo. 1900. Original size and material: 4×5 inch glass negative. Field Museum Collection – Digital Identifier: Z80007 (Source)

Torn Shorn, Misc. Set. Courtesy of Least Wanted aka Mark Michaelson. http://www.flickr.com/photos/leastwanted/sets/72157605201939008/

Torn Shorn, Misc. Set. Courtesy of Least Wanted aka Mark Michaelson. http://www.flickr.com/photos/leastwanted/sets/72157605201939008/

Another nod for Blake Andrews. Although not planned, it is welcome, as I think he tries keeps the blogophotosphere fresh, trying new stuff from his hideout in Portland.

Earlier this week I featured Blake’s Brief History of the U.S. Passport Photograph. An artist/collector with hundreds of Passport and ID Photographs, named Least Wanted, followed up with Blake to get the word out on his sprawling collection.

Also earlier this week, I put up a piece about the JUSTICE Art Installation in Bridewell Police Station, London. Coincidentally, one of the artists for the JUSTICE exhibition exhibition was Mark Michaelson, aka Least Wanted. It seems like a small-internet-triangle-of-providence presented itself this morning and it is up to me to draw the hypotenuese …

Head Gear, Misc. Set. Courtesy of Least Wanted aka Mark Michaelson. http://www.flickr.com/photos/leastwanted/sets/72157605201939008/

Head Gear, Misc. Set. Courtesy of Least Wanted aka Mark Michaelson. http://www.flickr.com/photos/leastwanted/sets/72157605201939008/

Least Wanted collects, groups and displays a huge collection of I.D. photos on Flickr. In addition to passport shots, it includes medical photographs, badge I.D. photos and other documentary ephemera. Prison Photography is interested in the majority of the collection: Mugshots.

Least Wanted’s sets are a mad enough curatorial project to keep me going for months. For now, I’ll just echo Blake’s sentiment and point you in the direction of Michaelson’s epic archive.

Austin Old Timer, Misc. Set. Courtesy of Least Wanted aka Mark Michaelson. http://www.flickr.com/photos/leastwanted/sets/72157605201939008/

Austin Old Timer, Misc. Set. Courtesy of Least Wanted aka Mark Michaelson. http://www.flickr.com/photos/leastwanted/sets/72157605201939008/

The three images used in this article were drawn from Least Wanted’s misc. Set

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A couple of months ago, I wrote about the prison convict ship Success and its repurposing as a museum ship in the early 19th century. At that time, I featured a couple of images of the ship docked in Seattle and Tacoma. To continue from that visual anchor (pun intended), I’d like to share these few close up images of this unique and long-gone “Museum Ship of Colonial Horrors” (as I like to refer to it).

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3029429307_4c6c2ec7d1The accoutrements of abuse on display are chilling. The international seafaring exhibit was an old British and latterly Australian ship used for deportation of ‘criminals’ during Victorian times and for non-human commodities thereafter.

I wonder what sort of museological interpretation of Success was given to American audiences? Would this have been kept in a separate narrative to the slavery ships of the Atlantic or would all histories be foisted into one macabre reductive appreciation of the ‘Other’?

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3029428449_3f46a11ca91When I saw the iron jacket I was terrified, but then I read Wystan‘s description of the Wooden Maiden:

If you were very naughty, you might be asked to remove your clothing and climb inside this vertical coffin, where of course it was pitch dark, there was no water, and fresh air was scarce. Then the box (which was clad in sheet iron) would stand in the hot sun until you got nice and warm. But you wouldn’t want to slump or faint, because then your bare flesh might get snagged on the ends of the long nails that had been pounded into it from random directions . . .

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All images from the Library of Congress on Flickr,

and searched out through Flickr Commons.

Woman in cell, playing solitaire. ca. 1950. Nickolas Muray. Transparency, chromogenic development (Kodachrome) process. George Eastman House Collection - Accession # 1983:0567:0151

Woman in cell, playing solitaire. ca. 1950. Nickolas Muray. Transparency, chromogenic development (Kodachrome) process. George Eastman House Collection - Accession # 1983:0567:0151

I was blown away last month when the indicommons feed landed Nickolas Muray’s colour commercial photography on my desktop. Muray’s commercial work is fresh, witty, a sock in the eye and an all round feast of fun. The fact I haven’t any knowledge ofi the advertised products makes my enjoyment all the more visuocentric and naive. And that’s okay … every so often.

Pop music sprouted in the fifties, right about when this image was taken. I have Alma Cogan playing in my mind as I browse Muray’s commercial kodachrome prints. Visually, Woman in Cell, Playing Solitaire is an alterworld mash-up of Jehad Nga and Edward Hopper. Don’t you just dig those colours? None of the psychological edge though; the lady, despite being locked up, hardly looks harassed or without hope. Rather, she looks bored.

To continue the fest of technicolour, let me include the image below. Admittedly, it stretches the theoretical parameters of this blog but I would argue the subject is relevant. Depicted is the harsh subjugation of fowl to sites of incarceration – evidenced by the chicken wire and possibly even the girl’s well-disguised, maniacal grasp of the hat!

American Cyanamid Girl with Straw Hat Full of Chicks, 1947. Nickolas Muray. Color print, Assembly (Carbro) Process. George Eastman House. Accession # 1971:0048:0017.

American Cyanamid Girl with Straw Hat Full of Chicks, 1947. Nickolas Muray. Color print, Assembly (Carbro) Process. George Eastman House. Accession # 1971:0048:0017.

To end on a serious note, I knew of the exceptional George Eastman House collection, but was frequently frustrated by the archaic platform of its website. Browsing was not fun. To GEH’s credit they recognised this enfeeblement and avidly committed important works to the Flickr Commons project. Kudos to them. We are all the better for it! I am just happy an image came along with vaguely carceral imagery, providing me an excuse to share.

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Nickolas Muray (American, b. Hungary, 1892-1965) immigrated to the United States in 1913, working first as a printer and then opening a photographic portrait studio in Greenwich Village in 1920. He became well known for his celebrity portraits, publishing them regularly in Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Ladies’ Home Journal, and The New York Times. After 1930, Muray turned away from celebrity and theatrical portraiture, and became a pioneering commercial photographer, famous for establishing many of the conventions of color advertising. He is considered the master of the three-color carbro process. Muray’s portraits of Frida Kahlo are well known and well-loved.

Discombobulated

Discombobulated

I was delighted to find this collection of “Jail Finds” recently. It is a quiet statement amidst the cacophony of dross we are subject to daily.

The person who documents these notes, scribbles and profundities works for a volunteer library service serving the local Dane County Jail and operated by the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

These are things I find abandoned in books or stuffed on the book cart at the jail where I volunteer. A little context: these come from a county jail, not a state prison – a very important distinction. Most inmates (approx. 75%) are short-term “holds.” They’re there awaiting trial (meaning they couldn’t afford bail); on probation violations; or are federal prisoners being shuffled around the system. About 1/4 are women and 1/3 are minorities. The vast majority stay less than 30 days.

Torture?

"Subject Mukasey, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to Guantanamo style Waterboarding. Then ask them if it is Torture."

Events and Consequences

Events and Consequences

Test

Health Testing Request

List

Childhood and Adulthood

Prison is Wrong

Prison is Wrong

A Mouse is Fast, A Cat is Faster, A Gun is Faster Yet, But i always Miss. That is not True, I AM A GOOD SHOT

The Mouse is Fast, The Cat is Faster, My Gun is Faster Yet, But I Miss a lot. NOT TRUE, I'M A VERY GOOD SHOT

List

Vocabulary

Letter

Letter of pledges, hopes and favours.

What ties these examples and the other 100 or so in the collection is humanity and surprise. Humanity we should hope of all and surprise we should absolutely insist on from all. Some of these scribbles are penitent in the old fashioned ideal, some are reflections of harsh reality.

I wouldn’t argue, that in my mini-curation, I may be biased. I have picked the most appealing and the most redemptive of scripts, but I feel this only goes some small way to redress the imbalance of mainstream media that a) simultaneously condemns and sensationalises criminals and b) cares little for the transgressor once locked away.

Spanish

"God give me serenity to accept the things I cannot change and give me valour to change those I can. And wisdom to recognize the difference. May your will be done and not mine."

EMAIL

prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com

@BROOKPETE ON TWITTER

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