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The Davis Orton Gallery in Hudson, NY, has just put out an open call for photography related to prisons and incarceration. They’re seeking work about prisons, prison towns, neighbours, families and children, guards, incarcerated persons and returning citizens. Landscapes, portraits and still lifes are offered as suggestions but I’d hazard they’ll take any type of imagery and I encourage the pushing of boundaries.

“This is a topic I have long wanted to present,” says gallery owner Karen Davis. “[Mass incarceration] is not a topic commonly found in our type of gallery.”

Bravo to Davis Orton to getting stuck in to the issue.

Details on how to submit your work here. The dates of the show are June 24th to July 22nd. Deadline for entry is June 6th.

From the open call, Davis Orton will select two portfolios to be included in the show. They’ll go alongside works by Joe Librandi-Cowan and Isadora Kosofsky, who anchor the exhibition.

During the run of the show, the Prison Public Memory Project (one of the most intriguing and layered public research projects I know) will be facilitating film screenings, discussions and presentations relating to mass incarceration.

SUBMISSION DETAILS HERE.

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The NYPD has released 215 photographs taken by convicted serial killer Rodney Alcala in an attempt to secure identifications and restart cold case inquiries.

Alcala was recently sentenced to death for three murders in California in the late seventies. In the early seventies, Alcala lived intermittently in New York; some of the photographs found in his storage upon his arrest are thought to be from his time in New York

“They should be in every newspaper, on TV and on the Internet,” Sheila Weller, cousin of victim Ellen Hover, said before the NYPD decided to release the pictures.

RESPONSE

The collection is one of the most discomfiting things I’ve been audience to. To look at these photographs is to ready oneself the very limited likelihood of recognizing someone. It is a very grave and uneasy type of involvement with the image and the serious context by which it has come to be viewed.

Usually, personal portraits have their story shared and history mutually written, but – in viewing these previously unknown images of unknown persons – the viewer potentially writes the story’s end.

The public release has already yielded results:

The photos were kept quiet until Alcala was sentenced to death last month. “We needed an unbiased jury,” said retired Huntington Beach Detective Steve Mack.

Last month, Huntington County cops posted 137 of the less graphic pictures online. So far, 21 have been identified, often by the women themselves.

Four families of missing women say they recognized their loved ones, but police have not yet been able to confirm a link.

Most of the photos sent to the NYPD were not among those posted online. They include details that suggest they were taken in New York, sources said.

View photographs here.

Found via Elizabeth Avedon

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NY Daily News coverage

NYPD not releasing pictures taken by sicko serial killer Rodney Alcala of possible victims (April 20th, 2010)

NYPD releases serial killer Rodney Alcala’s photos of women — seeks public’s help in ID’ing them (April 21st, 2010)

Gallery: NYPD seeks clues from photos taken by serial killer Rodney Alcala (April 21st, 2010)

Marvin Heiferman pointed me in the direction Tim Padgett’s Time article about news outlets’ adoption of Mug-shot galleries. Padgett remarks, “Mugshot galleries are increasingly popular features on newspaper websites, which are on a crusade for more page views and the advertising revenue that accompanies additional eyeballs.”

Tampa

The example offered is that of Mugshots at TampaBay.com of the St. Petersburg Times. The site even breaks down the prior sixty days of bookings into the age, height, weight and eye colour statistics of those arrested.

This exercise is as artless as one would think. The laziness of the filtering of information via an automated platform is matched by the disclaimer regarding mugshots’ accompanying text.

The news group has recognised this and produced these ridiculous FAQ‘s in advance of those booked being disappointed … or worse, misrepresented.

I was arrested but cannot find my mug shot. What gives? Our goal is to provide a complete profile for individuals booked into jail in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Pasco counties. A complete profile on Mug Shots constitutes: name, photograph, booking ID, height, weight, age, gender, eye color, birth date, booking date and booking charge.

The majority of arrest records from the county sheriff’s sites have no problems, and we store them and make them available. However, on rare occasions, the photo we receive from the sheriff’s office is flawed, or sometimes the site does not make a photo available. We skip the records that do not have photos attached. You can always search for an individual on the sheriff’s site, but just because you were booked doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily show up on Mug Shots.

I was released and my record was cleared. Will you take down my mug shot? A sheriff’s office Web site maintains publicly accessible arrest records regardless of the disposition of any particular case.One principle behind Mug Shots is to mirror the sheriff’s office Web site policies closely. We provide links from every individual’s profile page to the detail page at the corresponding sheriff’s office site, which contains instructions about how to follow up on any particular case. Much like a county sheriff’s office, there are very few instances in which we would remove a mug shot from the Web site.

Will you fix incorrect biographical information? What if the sheriff does? One guiding principle is to mirror the collective sheriff’s office sites closely. However, sometimes the sheriff’s office site contains a typo or another form of incorrect data. We don’t alter the information that we gather. We do provide links from individual’s profile page directly to their detail page at the corresponding sheriff’s office site.

Continually-updated mugshot galleries continue a long tradition of crime-obsessed media and publics. They are the latest step toward the eradication-of-reason when interfacing with social transgression.

Internet “news” mugshot galleries now dominate a new, middle-ground of visual consumption; that wasteland lies somewhere between the dark pathology (and allure) of Weegee‘s world and the instant digital delivery of crime related stats (think Comp-Stat and the Sex Offenders Registry). They are bland.

These galleries are continuous, and unnecessary, visual feeds of societies’ constructed “bogey-man”.

screen

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)

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