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Jon Lowenstein

This is the third and final post about Photoville. We’ve had the beginning, the middle and so now, the end.

Of the two dozen photographers in the show, only three had actual objects (Sye Williams’ darkroom prints, Jane Lindsay’s bottle caps and Deborah Luster’s tintypes). Given the cost and hassle of shipping, it was decided that the re-used Noorderlicht exhibition prints would not be returned.

I was given instructions to destroy all prints.

It occurs to me that a lot of people don’t talk about this aspect of contemporary exhibition-making. It’s not really sad to see them go, because they never belonged to anyone. They only belonged to the show. And besides, knowing they were to be destroyed, I put most of them up with double sided sticky tape, so there was no preserving them after that ultra-adhesive abuse anyway.  Super-strong magnets are hardly kind to bare prints either!

We do plan to travel Cruel and Unusual (make Hester, Noorderlicht and I an offer!) and as such we’ll see shiny versions printed again.

Until then, think on these images of photogaeddon, wanton destruction and image massacre.

Araminta de Clermont

Stephen Tourlentes

Jenn Ackerman

Steve Davis

Richard Ross

Jeff Barnett-Winsby

Tim Gruber

Yana Payusova

Lori Waselchuk

Joseph Rodriguez

Adam Shemper

Sean Kernan

Marilyn Suriani

Scott Houston

Lloyd Degrane

Harvey Finkle

Lizzie Sadin

Nathalie Mohadjer

Brenda Ann Kenneally

Alyse Emdur

Julia Lish, a correctional officer, comforts an inmate during one his psychotic episodes. “Its going to be OK,” she repeats as he cries and yells to the voices in his head. © Jenn Ackermann

Jenn Ackerman: ‘A Hand to Hold’ (2008) from the series, Trapped.
11×14. B&W, archival matte.
Edition #2 of an edition of 25.

Print PLUS, self-published book, postcard and mixtape = $600.


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It’s still the very early stages of Prison Photography on the Road, my Kickstarter project, and I’m super pleased and humbled by the generosity of folks.

I won’t lie, it’s been a lot of work to co-ordinate all the information among potential interviewees, and the photographers who’ve donated prints, and those practitioners whose will be included in the self published book.

Info on half a dozen prints (available to funders of the project) is still outstanding. No fear, I’ll turn a negative to a positive and feature the photographs and the print info here on the blog as and when it arrives. At the same time, I can make repeated calls for support.

The Minneapolis based wunder-couple Jenn and Tim – a.k.a. Ackerman Gruber Images – were the first photographers to respond to my early inquiries about collaboration. Then there was silence. They’re a little late to the party because they’re down in Brazil on assignment. No worries guys.

I’ve written about Jenn’s series Trapped here on Prison Photography before. Tim and I have played email tag for two years trying to conjure a nice format to discuss his series Served Out.

Below are the prints Jenn and Tim kindly donated. Available on my Kickstarter page.

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The sun breaks through the bars of the Nursing and Hospice Care Unit at the Kentucky State Reformatory, as part of the series ‘Served Out.’ © Tim Gruber

Tim Gruber: ‘Sunset Behind Bars’ (2008).
14×11″ B&W, archival pigment print on matte paper.
Edition #1 of an edition of 25.

Print PLUS, self-published book, postcard and mixtape = $500.



Credit: Bruce Jackson

NY Times LENS Blog

Here, there and everywhere people are celebrating the New York Times’ LENS Blog as a messianic gift for the photophile. I was therefore happy to see that less than two weeks in LENS is featuring Bruce Jackson’s wide angle documentary work from Arkansas Prison in the early 1970s

Bruce Jackson should be a familiar name as it was he that rescued, scanned and shared the enigmatic Arkansas Prison Mugshot series, Mirrors.


Found and presented by Bruce Jackson. Arkansas State Prisoner Portrait

June 100 Eyes Issue

Over at 100 Eyes, Andy Levin from insists that “Whatever ones perspective, be it victim, civil rights activist or cop, there is one shared idea – something needs to change.”

The June edition of 100 Eyes, titled, America Behind Bars features the work of Dominic Bracco, Jerome Brunet, Darcy Padilla, Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber – all very talented and committed photographers.

As editor, Andy Levin, concludes, the genre of prison photography (or to be less aggrandizing) simply the practice of photography within sites of incarceration is often a difficult and thankless task;

The photographers who have contributed to “America Behind Bars” have worked against overwhelming odds to bring back powerful images of American prisons. One can’t simply walk into a prison with a camera. This kind of photography requires long negotiations and often a warden who has the vision and concern to allow a photographer into his jail.

Wonderful exposure for the most pressing of social issues in America today.

Darcy Padilla. From AIDS in Prison Series.

Darcy Padilla. From AIDS in Prison Series.

Prison Photography began its project in September 2008 with a celebration of Darcy Padilla’s portrait of former San Quentin Public Communications Officer, Vernell Crittendon.

In February, I was gob-smacked by Jerome Brunet’s Riding Shotgun with Texas Sheriffs.


prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com

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