4:40- 6:10pm | Sunday 9/22

Panel: Photo Requests from Solitary

Moderated by: Jean Casella, journalist and editor, Solitary Watch

Presented by Tamms Year Ten, Solitary Watch, the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, and Parsons The New School for Design, with support from the Open Society Foundations

The “Photo Requests from Solitary” event at Photoville brings together artists, activists, journalists, and survivors of solitary confinement. This panel discussion with accompanying slide show will introduce audiences to the reality of torture taking place in their own backyards, while exploring the power of photography to humanize one of the most marginalized group of people in our society, educate the public and the press, and spur social change on one of our most pressing domestic human rights issues.

Featuring Five Omar Mualimmak (activist with the American Friends Service Committee and the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, survivor of five years in solitary confinement in New York State prisons), Yvette Gonzales (activist with Housing Works and the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Solitary Confinement, placed in solitary in New York for being transgender), Laurie Jo Reynolds (artist, policy advocate with the Tamms Year Ten campaign against supermax confinement in Illinois, and organizer of the Photo Requests from Solitary project), Jeanine Oleson, artist, educator at Parsons The New School for Design, and coordinator of the New York Photo Requests from Solitary project) and actors TBA, reading the writing of men and women currently held in solitary confinement in New York.

This presentation will take place in the Photoville Talk Area – located at the storefront of One Brooklyn Bridge Park at 360 Furman St Brooklyn, NY 11201.

Robert--Laurie Jo Reynolds--medium
© Laurie Jo Reynolds

Several men asked for photos of themselves, taken from their online Department of Corrections photos, to give to their families. Robert wanted his picture matched with an alternate background. He wrote, “If you can place my picture on another background, nothing too much please. Something simple like a blue sky with clouds or a sunset in the distance would be fine.” Robert also said, “I want to extend my love to you, for you, as you have already done for me. Because genuine, authentic true love is when you do for others just because you can, and you hold no preconceived notion that you will be getting anything in return.”

“Photo Requests from Solitary” is a collaboration between men held in supermax prisons, the photographers who fulfilled their requests, and the following organizations: Tamms Year Ten, a grassroots coalition that successfully worked to close Illinois’ notorious Tamms supermax prison which was designed for sensory deprivation and isolation; Solitary Watch, a web-based journalism project aimed at exposing and documenting this hidden domestic human rights issue; the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, a grassroots group made up of survivors of solitary confinement, family and community members, and advocates working toward an end of prolonged isolation in New York’s prisons; and Parsons The New School for Design’s School of Art, Media, and Technology, which offers training in art and design, expanding these fields beyond their traditional boundaries through interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange. The exhibition and panel discussion is supported by the Open Society Documentary Photography Project, which explores how photography can engage and mobilize people around issues of justice and human rights.

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Related Exhibition:
Photo Requests From Solitary

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