Saturday, January 21, 2012

A photograph within a photo

On organization called Tamms Year Ten is trying to change conditions at the Tamms supermax prison in Illinois. One of their projects involves soliciting requests for photographs and drawings from male prisoners kept in solitary confinement. The February issue of Harper's includes some of the inmates' requests:

I would love a photograph of a woman sitting by a lake fishing, with an empty chair next to her, with a cooler of beer. And have a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the background! I'd prefer the photographer take the photo from a boat out in the lake! Also, I'd prefer a woman that's over forty! 
A photograph within a photo of me + the lakefront. A photograph within a photo of me + Navy Pier. A photograph within a photo of me + wild lions. A photograph within a photo of me + wild wolves. A photograph within a photo of me + Chinese dragon, for next Christmas mailing of cards. Please place me in the right, upper corner of the photos within a photo + make copies of them. 
A gray & white (mix) "warmblood" horse(s) in an outdoor environment -- shown in action, such as rearing up or jumping or climbing. I'd like the photo to convey freedom, strength, and the wisdom of nature. If possible, taken in a cold environment so that clouds of hot breath can be seen. 
At sixty-six years of age I try to use a little humor: I want a picture of a trash can with the lid half off and two eyes peeking out as the trash can rolls down the hill toward an incinerator with the caption: I seem to be picking up speed I must be headed toward a bright future.

Something I find interesting: It's easy to imagine a talented photographer or artist fulfilling these requests to complete satisfaction. However, if I imagine an equally specific request for a poem or even a novel, it seems that the written work would almost always disappoint.

1 comment:

  1. these make me feel very sad in a slightly good way. thanks for sharing.