Most prisons and jails across the United States do not allow prisoners to have access to cameras. At a moment when 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the US, 3.8 million people are on probation, and 870,000 former prisoners are on parole, how can images tell the story of mass incarceration when the imprisoned don’t have control over their own representation? Organized with the scholar Nicole R. Fleetwood, an expert on art’s relation to incarceration, the Spring issue of Aperture magazine addresses the unique role photography plays in creating a visual record of a national crisis.
“Truth & Reconciliation”
Images, narrative, and racial justice
Bryan Stevenson in Conversation with Sarah Lewis
“The Mug Shot: A Brief History”
On the origins of criminal typologies
By Shawn Michelle Smith
“Bruce Jackson: On the Inside”
A folklorist’s 1970s-era chronicle of prisons in Texas and Arkansas
By Brian Wallis
“Behind These Prison Walls”
Two photographers and former corrections officers reflect on life at Rikers Island
Jamel Shabazz and Lorenzo Steele, Jr. in Conversation with Zarinah Shabazz
When a loved one is incarcerated, how do portrait studios keep families together?
By Nicole R. Fleetwood
Behind bars, an artist transforms prison-issued materials into powerful works of art
Jesse Krimes in Conversation with Hank Willis Thomas
An online project about images of incarceration becomes a public resource
By Pete Brook
Introduction by Christie Thompson
Introduction by Jordan Kisner
Introduction by Zachary Lazar
Introduction by Rebecca Bengal
“Sable Elyse Smith”
Introduction by Jessica Lynne
Introduction by Reginald Dwayne Betts
“Zora J Murff”
Introduction by Ruby Tapia
Introduction by Virginia Grise
Introduction by Mabel O. Wilson
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Aperture: The Magazine of Photography and Ideas
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Aperture magazine’s “Prison Nation” issue and the related exhibition and programs are funded, in part, with generous lead support from the Ford Foundation, as well as funding from the Reba Judith Sandler Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, and the Board of Trustees and Members of Aperture Foundation. Additional public funds are from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.