The Institute for Peace & Justice at St. Francis College will house the new National Center for the Study of Prison Photography. Join us Thursday, November 15 at 10:00-11:30, Exhibit Hall.
The U.S. prison system may be the largest photography “system” in America: virtually every prison in America allows prisoner created photographic portraits, taken by prisoners, of prisoners and featuring prisoner created photographic backdrops. The resulting portraits are the preferred method prisoners have for communicating with families and friends, and may number in the millions.
Composed of a multidisciplinary team of scholars from the fields of sociology, criminology, art theory, and economics, as well as practitioners from several state corrections departments and a prisoner rights group, the Center is the first of its kind for the study of this vast, but mostly unknown, photography system.
The activities of the Center include a fast growing archive of original prisoner portraits along with original painted backdrops which have been donated by some of our correctional partners. Other activities include scholarly meetings and panels as well as lectures by artists with a background in the specialty fields of conceptual photography and social practice interventions. Much of the activities of the center are not open to the media and are restricted to scholars and researchers.
However, the Center, along with St. Francis College’s Center for Crime & Popular Culture, will be hosting its first ever public chapter meeting at the upcoming American Society for Criminology (ASC) conference in Chicago in November 2012. We will present some of our archive and research. We are interested in collaborating with scholars from many fields, and hope to forge research partnerships at the ASC.
Look for us at ASC on Thursday November 15 at 10:00-11:30, Exhibit Hall.
The Center has already elicited media coverage in the following publications: