faces from the Ark pen
December 21, 2004 3:08 PM Subscribe
Mirrors. Documentarian Bruce Jackson found "a group of about two hundred 3x4" identification photographs made between 1914 and 1937... in a drawer in the Arkansas penitentiary in the summer of 1975"; this (slideshow) is the online record of an exhibition.
It is impossible to look at these images and not think about the persons depicted there. But, save for one fact that is a given—and what we find in or infer from these images—we know nothing about those persons, and never will. The given is that they are all prisoners: for whatever reason, they have been deprived of liberty, the single piece of enduring proof of which is the image at which we presently gaze. The conclusions we draw, the feelings we have, the narratives we suppose—they are all our own. The images are mirrors, resonating with aspects of our selves we perhaps never before encountered.Many of them are haunting; this one has been turned by time into a work of art. (Via Ramage.)
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