Featuring: People held in long-term solitary confinement in New York State prisons, working in collaboration with photographers on the outside.

“Photo Requests from Solitary” invites men and women held in long-term solitary confinement to request a photograph of anything at all, real or imagined, and finds artists to make the images. The resulting photographs provide an archive of the hopes, memories, and interests of people who endure extreme isolation and sensory deprivation.

Instead of describing or replicating the bleak conditions in which these individuals live, “Photo Requests from Solitary” presents what they envision—the vivid and varied thoughts/objects/images that all minds produce, independently of senses and circumstances. Rather than implying that images are ‘missing’ from their lives and need to be provided from the outside, the project affirms that images are already there, part of their total world. People in solitary give us their images, and we give them back as photographs, in an artistic partnership that acknowledges our shared creativity and humanity.

The photographs on display at Photoville were taken for people in solitary confinement in New York who spend 22 to 24 hours a day in small cells without meaningful human contact, in conditions that the UN has defined as torture. More than 4,500 individuals are currently held in some form of isolation in New York’s prisons and jails, and some will remain there for months, years, or decades.


Photo Requests from Solitary

 archive : 2017

Featuring: Various Artists

Curated by: Jean Casella Jeanine Oleson Laurie Jo Reynolds

Presented by: New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, Solitary Watch
  • New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement
  • Solitary Watch


View Location Details Download a detailed map of this location Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza

1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Sep 222013

Photo Requests from Solitary

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.

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