Inside the Wire: Photographs from Texas and Arkansas Prisons

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9780292744967: Inside the Wire: Photographs from Texas and Arkansas Prisons

As recently as the 1970s, many inmates in southern prisons lived and worked on prison farms that were not only modeled after the American slave plantation, but even occupied lands that literally were slave plantations before the Civil War, and on which working and living conditions had not changed much a century after the war. Bruce Jackson began visiting some of these prison farms in the 1960s to study black convict worksongs and folk culture. He took a camera along as means of visual note taking, but soon realized that he had an extraordinary opportunity to document a world whose harshness was so extreme that at least one prison had been declared unconstitutional. Allowed unsupervised access to prison farms in Texas and Arkansas, Jackson created an astonishing photographic record, most of which has never before been published in book form.

Inside the Wire presents a complete, irreplaceable portrait of the southern prison farm. With freedom to wander the fields and facilities and hang out with inmates for extended periods, Jackson captured everything from the hot, backbreaking work of hand-picking cotton, to the cacophony and lack of all privacy in the cell blocks, to the grim solitude of death row. He also includes some early twentieth-century prisoner identification shots, taken by anonymous convict photographers for the prison files, that survive as profoundly evocative human portraits. These images and Jackson’s photographs document, as no previous work has, the humanity of the people and the inhumanity of the institutions in which they labor and languish. As Jackson says, “sometimes kindness happens with prison, but prison itself is a cruel world outsiders can scarcely imagine. I hope nothing in this book suggests otherwise.”

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About the Author:

Bruce Jackson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of English and James Agee Professor of American Culture at the University at Buffalo. He is the author or editor of thirty books, including “In This Timeless Time”: Living and Dying on Death Row in America (with Diane Christian); Pictures from a Drawer: Prison and the Art of Portraiture; Cummins Wide: Photographs from the Arkansas Prison; The Story Is True: The Art and Meaning of Telling Stories; Law and Disorder: Criminal Justice in America; Death Row (with Diane Christian); In the Life: Versions of the Criminal Experience; and Wake Up Dead Man: Afro-American Worksongs from Texas Prisons. His photographs and documentary films have been widely exhibited. Jackson has been named a Chevalier in the French National Order of Merit and also in the French Order of Arts and Letters.

Review:

"In the '60s, Bruce Jackson began visiting prison farms in the south of America to document folk culture. The rich, monochrome images subsequently captured between 1964 and 1979 have been faithfully reproduced to a high standard and every image tells a story, offering a stunning and sometimes emotional insight into a harsh and intriguing environment less often seen by outsiders. An incredibly interesting subject very well captured. If you've even a remote interest in this topic, then you'll love this coffee-table classic!" (Digital SLR Photography 2013-05-01)

"Stunning . . . the scenes depicted in Bruce Jackson’s photography are gripping beyond words . . . haunting." (William Ferris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and Coeditor of the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture)

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Book Description University of Texas Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. As recently as the 1970s, many inmates in southern prisons lived and worked on prison farms that were not only modeled after the American slave plantation, but even occupied lands that literally were slave plantations before the Civil War, and on which working and living conditions had not changed much a century after the war. Bruce Jackson began visiting some of these prison farms in the 1960s to study black convict worksongs and folk culture. He took a camera along as means of visual note taking, but soon realized that he had an extraordinary opportunity to document a world whose harshness was so extreme that at least one prison had been declared unconstitutional. Allowed unsupervised access to prison farms in Texas and Arkansas, Jackson created an astonishing photographic record, most of which has never before been published in book form. Inside the Wire presents a complete, irreplaceable portrait of the southern prison farm. With freedom to wander the fields and facilities and hang out with inmates for extended periods, Jackson captured everything from the hot, backbreaking work of hand-picking cotton, to the cacophony and lack of all privacy in the cell blocks, to the grim solitude of death row. He also includes some early twentieth-century prisoner identification shots, taken by anonymous convict photographers for the prison files, that survive as profoundly evocative human portraits. These images and Jackson s photographs document, as no previous work has, the humanity of the people and the inhumanity of the institutions in which they labor and languish. As Jackson says, sometimes kindness happens with prison, but prison itself is a cruel world outsiders can scarcely imagine. I hope nothing in this book suggests otherwise. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780292744967

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Book Description University of Texas Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. As recently as the 1970s, many inmates in southern prisons lived and worked on prison farms that were not only modeled after the American slave plantation, but even occupied lands that literally were slave plantations before the Civil War, and on which working and living conditions had not changed much a century after the war. Bruce Jackson began visiting some of these prison farms in the 1960s to study black convict worksongs and folk culture. He took a camera along as means of visual note taking, but soon realized that he had an extraordinary opportunity to document a world whose harshness was so extreme that at least one prison had been declared unconstitutional. Allowed unsupervised access to prison farms in Texas and Arkansas, Jackson created an astonishing photographic record, most of which has never before been published in book form. Inside the Wire presents a complete, irreplaceable portrait of the southern prison farm. With freedom to wander the fields and facilities and hang out with inmates for extended periods, Jackson captured everything from the hot, backbreaking work of hand-picking cotton, to the cacophony and lack of all privacy in the cell blocks, to the grim solitude of death row. He also includes some early twentieth-century prisoner identification shots, taken by anonymous convict photographers for the prison files, that survive as profoundly evocative human portraits. These images and Jackson s photographs document, as no previous work has, the humanity of the people and the inhumanity of the institutions in which they labor and languish. As Jackson says, sometimes kindness happens with prison, but prison itself is a cruel world outsiders can scarcely imagine. I hope nothing in this book suggests otherwise. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780292744967

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