David Bowie was arrested for marijuana possession along with Iggy Pop in Rochester, New York.
The book “In This Timeless Time” features photographs by Bruce Jackson and text by Bruce Jackson with Diane Christian, as well as a DVD of their film “Death Row”, and “is about life on Death Row in Texas, the special prison within a prison the state maintains for men it plans to put to death,” as Jackson and Christian write in their preface. “It is also about all the other Death Rows, which across time and in various places differ in marginal ways but which, at their core, are not significantly different from one another.”
Death Row differs from all other prisons in this one regard: it is the one prison in which everything happens outside of official time. Every other prisoner in the penitentiary is doing time; the condemned are suspended in a period between times when the official clocks are running. The clock stops the moment the judge announces the sentence of death; it resumes when the sentence is carried out, transformed into something else, or vacated entirely. The condemned live, as Donnie Crawford put it in the poem from which this book takes its title, in a ‘timeless time.’” (read more)
#1: Kite - Fenhe park, Taiyuan with branch of Yellow River, undated
#2: Lianito, New Mexico, 1970
#3: Crossing the Ohio, Louisville, Ky., 1966
#4: Shakedown at Ellis prison, Huntsville, Texas, 1968
This World Is Not My Home: Photographs by Danny Lyon will be on view at the de Young Museum in San Francisco until January 27, 2013.
This exhibition of more than 60 photographs and photographic montages from 1962 to the present traces the fascinating and wide-ranging career of Danny Lyon. A leading and explosive figure in the American street photography movement of the 1960s, Lyon distinguished himself from his peers through his direct engagement with his subjects and his concern for those on the margins of society.
His goal, he says, was “to destroy Life magazine” by presenting powerful alternatives to the bland pictures and stories that permeated American mass media in the late 1950s, when he came of age. In the process, he created numerous photographs of striking psychological, political, and aesthetic power. (read more)
For the past five decades the photographer Danny Lyon has produced a mix of documentary photographs and film – both politically conscious and personal.
As the artist turns 70 this year, a new exhibition called ‘This World is Not My Home: Danny Lyon Photographs’ will celebrate his lengthy career at the Menil Collection in Houston from March 30 to July 29, 2012. (read more)
“If the public knew about it and understood it then maybe the culture would change. Maybe we’d invest more in education and in rehabilitation. When it’s out of sight, it is out of mind. If you say someone is going to prison, it doesn’t really mean anything,” says Light.
Read the whole interview here.
Joao Silva‘s website certainly displays a wealth of important stories. Alongside dispatches on Afghanistan, insurgency in Iraq, war in Lebanon, the war in Georgia, ethnic violence in Kenya and the siege of Sadir City is Silva’s 2005 dispatch from Malawi prisons.
The New York Times’ story, The Forgotten of Africa, Wasting Away in Jails Without Trial (Nov. 2005), by Michael Wines at the time was vital. As Chris Tapscott describes in Human Rights in African Prisons, the increase of 35% in Malawi’s prison population in the first four years of the millennium was one of the highest on the continent, second only to Ghana (38%).
As Wines describes, the result of overcrowding was an unsustainable system with inadequate nutrition, prisoners literally sleeping on top of each other, summary killings of prisoners deemed “incorrigible” and case files lost with the prisoner left to wallow. (read more)
A detained illegal migrant from Uzbekistan looks from his cell through a dirty glass window with a grate at police station in Kazansky (Kazan) railway station in Moscow. Police detained about 30 illegal migrants during a routine check.
#1: A man dead by drug overdose, 1972
#2: Police try to clear the sidewalk of sleeping drunks on the Bowery, 1978
#3: A policewoman plays games with community children, 1978
#4: The accused and the arresting officer confront each other again, 1978
#5: “Isn’t he cute?” a woman asks of a police officer, 1978
Disappointed with the loss of two photographers to the commercial world, Edward Steichen told Leonard Freed one day that if he ever went professional, his work would lose all interest. “Be a truck driver.”
It was with this amateur, insatiable curiosity that Freed, who joined Magnum Photos in 1970, took an interest in the New York Police Department and the African-American struggle for civil rights. In 1972, to counterbalance the NYPD’s poor public image, the photographer started an investigation into people’s attitude towards the boys in blue. He began by getting to know them better.
Forty years have passed since Freed first began to document these officers. And although his original book, Police Work, published in 1980 and no longer in print, a larger collection of prints from the series is on display at the Museum of the City of New York through March 18, 2012. (read more here & here)
Cells in Monrovia Central Prison intended for two prisoners are often crowded with up to seven inmates. Some sleep on hammocks made from empty rice bags tied to the cell bars and windows.
Liberia’s history is particularly arresting. The country was created in the 1820s by former American slaves shipped back to Africa by philanthropists who purchased their freedom — hence Liberia — only to watch their freed charges, dressed in top hats and hoop skirts, exploit the local population. It’s a tale that holds some hard lessons about human nature, and charity, and has divided the country between locals and Americos ever since. After more than a century of oppression, in 1989, the indigenous population staged a coup that led to two civil wars, the second of which ended in 2003. The fighting displaced a third of the country and left 200,000 dead. In a country of just 3 million, no one was untouched.
Glenna Gordon has been documenting Liberia since 2009. One of the things Gordon examines most closely is America’s historical, cultural and economic legacy in Liberia. “I seek out signs of a time before the conflict — remnants of the past that are easy to romanticize today,” Gordon says. “I seek traces of war wounds — psychological and physical — and examine the improvisations used to hide the pain … and embrace the present.” (read more)
Alfred Wells, 31, kneels in his cell to pray, following his conviction in San Bernardino on all counts in a triple murder case. The jury took just 30 minutes to convict Wells in the murders of his half brother, Raymond Wells, 24, Raymond’s wife, Jean, 19, and Rose Destree, 17. Wells shot the three because he thought they were trying to separate him from Violet Wells, Alfred’s half sister and common-law wife.
The lurid details brought out in court were eagerly covered by newspapers all over Southern California - and competition for photos was intense. Los Angeles Times photographer Paul Calvert had to act fast to get this exclusive image. In the December 1956 edition of Among Ourselves, the now-defunct Times-Mirror employee publication, Calvert explained he had been followed for days by a competitor’s photographer but managed “to give him the slip.” Calvert quickly approached Well’s jail cell and convinced him to be photographed.
This photo was published in the Oct. 31, 1941, Los Angeles Times. Wells was executed on Dec. 4, 1942, in the San Quentin gas chamber. A short Associated Press story announcing the execution also reported Wells “got religion” about eight months earlier.
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