This is the second of eight exhibits
intended to present the artwork, graffiti, and other expressions of
incarceration at the former prison site in Lorton, Virginia.
This self-assigned project was undertaken, after the
prison was decommissioned, in my spare time from 2002 to 2008, with the
bulk of the work occurring from 2003 to 2005. My "canvas"
consisted of hundreds of cells and other rooms located in dozens of buildings on more than 2,300 acres spread between the town of Lorton in
Fairfax County and the village of Occoquan in Prince William County.
The majority of buildings constituting the prison
complex were generally assembled into four major groups, known as
"Central" (or "Central/Max"), "Minimum
Security," "Youth Correctional Facility" (or, simply,
"YCF"), and the "Occoquan Facility" (or, the
"Workhouse"). If there is any logic to the presentation of
images in this series of exhibits, it has been to represent all four of
these facilities in all of the exhibits in approximate proportion to the
amount of material harvested in each of them.
In reflecting on all of the material
that I have photographed within the walls of the Correctional Facility at
Lorton over the past five or six years, I am struck more than anything by
how little of it may be considered purely pornographic or violent in
nature. To be sure, the baser instincts of humanity are represented there,
and presented here to some extent for the sake of objectivity, but such
representations were generally belittled in this observer's eyes by the
many manifestations of humanity's more aspiring nature. Religious
artifacts and expressions of tenderness seemed to far outnumber demonic
symbols and expressions of rage and give one hope for the concept of
rehabilitation, even in such unpopular places.
Some individuals have questioned whether or not any of
the drawings or paintings located throughout the prison complex can be
considered "art." If nothing else, I hope these exhibits will
encourage viewers to consider at least some of the work presented here as
art. I would also go so far as to say that much of the work might be
considered a purer form of art than other, more public works of art, for
it clearly wasn't created with fame or wealth in mind, but more as a way
of expressing emotions that most of us rarely have the opportunity to
Caution: Some images in this exhibit may not be
considered suitable for viewing by children.