These photographs represent inmates from two corrections facilities in Washington State. In these photographs the subjects were offered the opportunity to select civilian clothing. Many of the volunteers in this series wrote a paragraph or two about their intentions upon release. Church, family and remaining drug-free were the overarching themes found in almost all of their goals. Each were given prints to keep or give to family, or for use in search of a job. The donated clothes are put to good use, given to the soon to be homeless and needier inmates upon their release.
I do not operate on the thesis that the people who fill our prisons are not regular. Rather, I focus on appearance. Incarcerated men and women are generally seen through media images as institutionalized and dehumanized subjects of a punitive system. Typically, they are more extras than actors in prison, wearing the prison costume; portrayed faceless or as silhouettes in a theater of glass, cinder-block and razor wire.
As we ingest an ever-growing volume of visual information related to incarceration, I hope that images such as mine will serve as a back of the mind, counterbalanced referent, reminding us that prison related pictures (still or moving,) assist in our society’s ease in accepting these men and women as something wholly different than ourselves.