Saturday, June 14, 2008

penitentiary

Penitentiary
June 2008

My iTunes: Nel furor delle tempeste from Bellini's Il Pirata

I went to jail today. Eastern State Penitentiary to be precise. It was built in the early 1800's and was a working penitentiary until it was closed in the 1970's. So, no, I was not convicted of a crime (unless the crime is spending too much time in the archives); I just did my usual thing and spent my free time doing something educational. At least I got to take picture.

My friend Stephanie who went with me called over to me as I was taking a macro shot of a door (to be unveiled later this week): "Christy, take your blog photos later!" It made me smile to know that I'm known as the photographer.

I like the lighting in this one: "Go towards the light!" This is one of the corridors where they kept prisoners. In the interest of reforming the inmates so that they might become helpful members of society, the penitentiary was designed to produce penitent prisoners -- even the skylights were designed so that the inmates felt that though they spent 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, God was always looking down upon them.

If I had the time, I would share more of the interesting history, but I have to write my prospectus tonight. I didn't get to it yesterday, so I'm writing tonight and tomorrow. I also have to pick one of the many pieces of sheet music from the nineteenth century to perform for everyone at the end of this fellowship program. I promise to give you more details about the penitentiary over the next few days, because I took a lot of pictures. The one interesting tidbit I will share is that at different times, this penitentiary held Al Capone and a Black Labrador. Now don't you want to hear more about it?

3 comments:

Robert said...

I'm glad to see you're getting out and about a bit on your time away. And of course I'm excited to hear you're talking lots of pictures. The one you chose to show us today is great. I'm wondering how many times you had to shoot it. The lighting looks really difficult to get right.

On a side note, I revisited some of your earlier pictures. I'm still loving that one in Venice. I know life is crazy for you now (and always?) but if you can find the time, I'd love it if you could email me and explain how you got the effect you did. My wife is planning on redoing our bathroom. If the colors work, and you wouldn't be offended to have one of your pictures hanging in a bathroom, I'd be very interested in purchasing it. I'll keep you posted on the final decision of the color scheme to see if it will work. Even if it doesn't, I might just find somewhere else for it.

June said...

Very nice shot here!

JC said...

I love that shot... and I almost Googled your penitentiary... but I think I'd much rather hear it from you!