Prison Photography: A Memory Divided

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This month, Youth Today features an essay by Prison Photography writer and editor Pete Brook. Brook highlights three photographers and their work, each focused on incarcerated young people from different detention centers across the country. Youth Today, a publication dedicated to providing juvenile justice stories as well as stories on other youth related issues, features the entire photo spread in its January print edition. Read an excerpt of the piece below: 

Hundreds of thousands of people see inside the places and spaces where we lock up young members of our society. On any given day, more than 60,000 children in the United States are behind bars. They are joined by guards, counselors, volunteers, educators and medical staff.

Journalists go into some juvenile detention facilities often, and into other facilities rarely, if ever. Phone calls may be made, stories may be told, letters written, letters read, but with the exception of digital keepsake photographs taken in visiting rooms, photographs of juvenile detention are few and far between.

A photographer leaves a prison or jail with a different type of memory. A memory divided by emotional memory and visual memory.

The emotions of their experience are, in the case of photographers Steve Davis, Joseph Rodriguez and Ara Oshagan, quite profound. Their visual memory is one shaped by living with the photographs they made and now share.

For the full essay including photography, click here.

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