Return to Eastern State Penitentiary

A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia with some friends.  It was the first time I had been back since I completed my Failed Penitence project almost two years ago.  I am only just now getting around to working on the images I captured and after I had created the ones that I have posted with this blog I decided to compare them to my previous work, which can be viewed in my Eastern State Penitentiary Failed Penitence e-Book.  The style of the images is very different – the images that I included in my e-Book are very much about the textures of decay and the spaces that define the prison. However, the images that I created from this recent trip are not the wide, sweeping corridors and the compact prison cells that I captured before, but rather they are smaller details. Maybe one of the things that influenced my choice in making these types of images as opposed to what I had done before is the fact that much more restoration work has taken place in the public areas since I was last here, which made it difficult to capture the feeling of decay and of what life must have been like. The beautification of the prison sterilizes the senses, making it difficult to believe that this place was vacated over 40 years ago. Once the concept of passing time has been removed the experience of what life was like before is also somewhat removed.

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1 comment

  1. You have a keen eye for the detail. It is good to have both the intimate and the wide sweeping shots. Well done as usual Arthur.

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