"If thou suffer injustice, console thyself; the
true unhappiness is in doing it."
Democritus, ca. 460-370 BC
This is the last of eight exhibits
presenting the artwork, graffiti, and other expressions of incarceration
at the former prison site in Lorton, Virginia.
This project began on 24 August 2002, when my wife Til
and I attended a decommissioning ceremony, transferring jurisdiction of
the prison property from the District of Columbia Department of
Corrections back to Fairfax County, Virginia. At the time and
subsequently, I had the opportunity to photograph the site during guided
tours of the prison and, eventually, self-directed visits with the
permission of the proper authorities at the time.
This self-assigned project was undertaken 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 rolling acres
spread between the town of Lorton in Fairfax County and the village of
Occoquan in neighboring Prince William County.
The majority of buildings constituting
the prison complex were assembled into four major groups, known as: 1)
"Central" (or "Central/Max," including the primary
maximum security area); 2) "Minimum Security;" 3) "Youth
Correctional Facility" (or, simply, "YCF"); and 4) the
"Occoquan Facility" (or, the "Workhouse"). Generally,
these four facilities are represented in each of the eight exhibits which
have been presented here, in approximate proportion to the amount of
material I harvested in each of them.
Over the course of this project, I managed to make a
little more than one thousand images throughout the entire prison site,
approximately one-quarter of which have been presented on this web site in
one of eight separate exhibits under the banner of "Behind
Bars." It is hoped that the viewer finds these images as compelling
and as fascinating to ponder as I have in making them over the years.
For other particulars relating to this project, the
viewer is encouraged to review the introductory texts of the first three
exhibits of this series (for which, see the "Previous Exhibits"
section of this web site).
Caution: Some images in this exhibit may not be
considered suitable for viewing by children.