Women in [Prison] Photography

 
Kristin S Wilkins. Untitled #8, 2011. From the series Supplication. When asked what she missed outside prison, she said, “I miss my hometown. Everything about it.”

Kristin S Wilkins. Untitled #8, 2011. From the series Supplication. When asked what she missed outside prison, she said, “I miss my hometown. Everything about it.”


Curated by Pete Brook

In the past 40 years, Americas prison population has more than quadrupled from under 500,000 to over 2.3 million. This program of mass incarceration is unprecedented in human history. Women have born the brunt of this disastrous growth. Within that fourfold increase, the female prison population has increased eightfold. You heard right: women are incarcerated today at eight times the number they were in the early 1970s. Are women really eight times more dangerous as they were two generations ago?

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Araminta de Clermont. Zulu, 2008. From the series Life After.

Araminta de Clermont. Zulu, 2008. From the series Life After.

Marilyn Suriani. Phyllis Tate, Metro Correctional Institute, Atlanta, 1994.

Marilyn Suriani. Phyllis Tate, Metro Correctional Institute, Atlanta, 1994.

Alyse Emdur. Backdrop painted by Darrell Van Mastrigt in Graterford Correctional Institution, Pennsylvania, 2011. From the series Prison Landscapes (2008-2011).

Alyse Emdur. Backdrop painted by Darrell Van Mastrigt in Graterford Correctional Institution, Pennsylvania, 2011. From the series Prison Landscapes (2008-2011).

Britney Anne Majure. Fengsel #1, 2011. Prison inmate Monica has struggled with drug addiction for almost ten years now and finds solace in the small forests on the edge of the prison.

Britney Anne Majure. Fengsel #1, 2011. Prison inmate Monica has struggled with drug addiction for almost ten years now and finds solace in the small forests on the edge of the prison.

Christiane Feser. Untitled, 2009. From the series Prisons.

Christiane Feser. Untitled, 2009. From the series Prisons.

Cheryl Hanna-Truscott. Mandi and Gabriel (3 days old), 2008.

Cheryl Hanna-Truscott. Mandi and Gabriel (3 days old), 2008.

Julia Rendleman. Lieutenant Valestin interrogates inmate Catherine Thomas, March 18, 2010, intake day, at the Dixon Springs boot camp in southern Illinois. Credit Julia Rendleman/Reportage by Getty Images.

Julia Rendleman. Lieutenant Valestin interrogates inmate Catherine Thomas, March 18, 2010, intake day, at the Dixon Springs boot camp in southern Illinois. Credit Julia Rendleman/Reportage by Getty Images.

Deborah Luster. Steven Dewayne Smurf Turner, E.C.P.P.F, Transylvania, Louisiana, 1999. From the series One Big Self

Deborah Luster. Steven Dewayne Smurf Turner, E.C.P.P.F, Transylvania, Louisiana, 1999. From the series One Big Self

Jenn Ackerman. Correctional officers clean the room of an inmate, searching for possible weapons after he cut himself with a spork earlier that morning, Correctional Psychiatric Treatment Unit, Kentucky State Reformatory, La Grange, Kentucky. 2008. From the series Trapped.

Jenn Ackerman. Correctional officers clean the room of an inmate, searching for possible weapons after he cut himself with a spork earlier that morning, Correctional Psychiatric Treatment Unit, Kentucky State Reformatory, La Grange, Kentucky. 2008. From the series Trapped.

Nathalie Mohadjer. Children inside jail, Cibitoke, Burundi, 2009. By law prisoners should face trial within 14 days; most prisoners are held much longer, sometimes for up to two years. From the series Dungeon.

Nathalie Mohadjer. Children inside jail, Cibitoke, Burundi, 2009. By law prisoners should face trial within 14 days; most prisoners are held much longer, sometimes for up to two years. From the series Dungeon.

Yana Payusova. String Theater, 2004. From the Russian Prison Series.

Yana Payusova. String Theater, 2004. From the Russian Prison Series.

Bio
Pete Brook is a freelance writer who focuses on the politics of visual culture and issues of social justice in photography. Since 2008, he has published writing about imagery produced within and about prisons on his own website Prison Photography. In 2011, Prison Photography was awarded a LIFE.com Photoblog Award and it was recommended among the Top Ten Best Photoblogs by the British Journal of Photography. For two years, Pete volunteered as an art teacher and working board member with University Beyond Bars, Seattle, WA. During the Autumn of 2011, Pete completed a 12-week, crowdfunded road-trip for which he interviewed photographers whove documented the rise of Americas prison industrial complex. He is co-curator for Cruel and Unusual, an exhibition of prison photography at the Noorderlicht Gallery, Holland (Feb-Apr 2012). He contributes regularly to Raw File, Wired.com’s photography blog. Pete is interested in how images are manufactured, distributed and consumed. Pete lives in Portland, Oregon. website

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