Monday, 2 February 2009
Arkansas State Prison Photographs
Via Digressions come these archival portraits of insane? prisoners from the Arkansas State Prison (1915-1937). ~Found and printed by Bruce Jackson, the modernity of the images combined with the incidental aging process makes them very contemporary - effortlessly altered images, Sander/Avedon/Dijkstra with a dash of possible madness thrown in for good luck.
"These images are based on a group of about two hundred 3"x4" identification photographs made between 1914 and 1937 that Jackson found in a drawer in the Arkansas penitentiary in the summer of 1975. The photographs of the men were loose in the drawer; the photographs of the women were in a small brown envelope. Most of the photographs of the men were taken inside, against a wall or a cloth; most of the photographs of the women were taken outside, near a fence, in a wicker chair. Bruce Jackson is a documentary artist presently on the faculty of University at Buffalo, where he is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Samuel P. Capen Professor of American Culture."
Bruce Jackson's website is here. You can see some his own work on American prisons from the 1970s.