For the past four years, I have been photographing formerly incarcerated women in their bedrooms. All were convicted of serious crimes, mostly homicide, and spent 14 to 35 years in a maximum-security prison. By the time they came up for parole, they were all profoundly changed, yet most of them were repeatedly denied release because of the crimes they had committed decades earlier.
These women were open and trusting enough to allow me into their most private spaces—their bedrooms—and to share the handwritten comments that accompany the photos. Like me, they hope this work will shed light on the pointlessness of extremely long sentences and arbitrary parole denials, and thus help their friends still in prison: women (and men) like them who deserve a chance at freedom.
SARA BENNETT has been a public defender specializing in battered women and the wrongly convicted. She draws attention to the problems of mass incarceration through her photographs of women with life sentences.
Her work has been featured in, among others, The New York Times, PBS News Hour/Art Beat, PDN Photo of the Day, Variety and Rolling Stone’s online and print edition of American (In)Justice, and hung in a variety of venues including The FENCE 2018, the 10th International ORGAN VIDA Photography Festival in Croatia, and the 2018 Indian Photography Festival. Bennett was a Top 50 finalist in the 2018 Critical Mass competition.
United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.
Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.
Life After Life in Prison: The Bedroom Project
Featuring: Sara Bennett
LocationsView Location Details Download a detailed map of this location Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza
1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
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Special thanks to Anonymous
In Memory of Barton Biggs, Katie Kitchen and Paul Kovach, Providence House, Richard Rothman, Alice Schlesinger