The Photo Space will be closed Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 28) before resuming regular hours: 11am – 6pm, Friday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 1.
Photo by: Raymond Thompson Jr.
Photography: In and Out of Prison
Photography: In and Out of Prison
Film Screening and Conversation with Nigel Poor, Raymond Thompson Jr., Pete Brook, and Lucas Foglia
Thu, Dec 05, 2019 / 6:30-10:00PM
According to a 2018 report, America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, spending nearly $80 billion annually to house the nearly 2.2 million adults held in American prisons and jails. Prison reform and “social justice doesn’t happen in a visual vacuum,” says educator and writer Pete Brook. As a former teacher at San Quentin’s Prison University Project, his lessons on the “History of Photography and Power” moved beyond teaching just the medium’s history. Rather, Brook pushed to recontextualize the visual stories that have long dictated our understanding of incarceration and the visual cues that sustain to systemic racism, drug use, and poverty.
Panel Discussion: 6:30-8:00pm
Film Screening: 8:00-9:30pm
Joined by W|ALLS photographers Raymond Thompson Jr., Lucas Foglia, and visual artist Nigel Poor, Brook will moderate a discussion about the history and future of prison photography. They will unpack how prisons are photographed and depicted to those outside the walls, and how photography is used as a tool for learning within. In particular Foglia and Poor will discuss their work documenting and engaging inmates enrolled in rehabilitation programs such as Greenhouse (Rikers Island’s horticulture program) and in San Quentin’s Prison University, and how these art and culture programs have witnessed and contributed to declining recidivism rates.
Stay after the talk for a special screening of the new feature-length documentary 16 Bars. The film features Grammy-winning Todd “Speech” Thomas, from the iconic activist hip-hop group Arrested Development, as he collaborates with four men at the Richmond City Justice Center to produce a hip-hop album. 16 Bars follows the lives and stories of these four men, as they work to overcome their demons and share the truth of their painful stories. Exploring cycles of addiction and incarceration through the power of music and storytelling, this project and film illuminate an inspiring path forward as the inmates’ voices are returned to them.
Pete Brook is a writer, curator and educator focused on prisons, photos, and power. Primarily, his interest is in the United States’ prison industrial complex and issues of visibility, propaganda, politicization, and agency. In 2008, he founded the website Prison Photography to log his research and writing. Brooks’ work has been featured in The British Journal of Photography, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and ACLU. He has curated half-a-dozen exhibitions, most recently Prison Obscura (2014 – 2016) which presented images produced outside of the documentary tradition and – sometimes – outside of the walls. His writing has been published by Aperture, The Atlantic, Huck, ICP, The Marshall Project, Polka, SF Bayview, Time, and Truthout.
Nigel Poor is a visual artist whose work explores the various ways people make a mark and leave behind evidence of their existence. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and can be found in various museum collections including the SFMOMA, the M.H. deYoung Museum, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. She is also a professor of photography at California State University, Sacramento. In 2011, Poor got involved with San Quentin State Prison as a volunteer teacher for the Prison University Project. She is the co-creator and co-host of the prison-based podcast Ear Hustle.
Raymond Thompson Jr.
Raymond Thompson Jr. is a photographer whose work focuses on race, identity and contested histories. He currently works as a Multimedia Producer at West Virginia University and is working on an MFA in photography from West Virginia University. He has received his MA in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and…
Lucas Foglia‘s work has been widely exhibited in the United States and in Europe, and is in the permanent collection of museums including the Denver Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Victoria & Albert Museum. Foglia’s first and second monographs, A…
W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine examines the historical use and artistic treatment of walls over centuries. Across diverse civilizations, walls have been central to human history, from Hadrian’s Wall to our current debate over the U.S./Mexico border.Learn More