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Photographing Incarceration Part 1*

Special Guest

  • Christopher Blackwell: Guest Editor of Incarceration Issue of ZEKE, currently incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton, WA

Three Photographers from the Incarceration Issue of ZEKE Magazine

  • Sara Bennett: Life After Life in Prison: The Bedroom Project
  • Brian Frank: What My Daughter Learns of the Sea: Women in Las Calinas Detention and Reentry Facility
  • Lou Jones: Final Exposure: Portraits from Death Row

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Tuesday October 17, 2023 via Zoom
7:00–8:30 pm ET

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Photo by Brian Frank
Photograph by Brian Frank from the Las Calinas Detention and Reentry Facility

The Fall 2023 Incarceration Issue of ZEKE Magazine features seven photographers—three of whom are here with us today—who have explored either day-to-day life for people in prison in the US or after re-entry. 

The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, imprisoning 664 per 100,000 people. The problems within the system are vast but there is widespread agreement – regardless of one’s position on the need for prisons or not – that the 1.2 million prisoners in the US on any single day are suffering from overcrowding, poor or nonexistent health care, stifling heat during record heat waves, little or no efforts at rehabilitation, lack of education, restricted access to family, inadequate and unhealthy food, and record levels of violence by both guards and fellow detainees.

*Part 2 will be Monday, November 6, 1:30 pm ET with Antoine Davis, Peter Merts, Howard Zehr, Katherin Hervey, and Massimo Bardetti.


Christopher BlackwellCristopher Blackwell
Guest Editor for the incarceration Issue of ZEKE is Christopher Blackwell, and an award-winning journalist currently incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton, WA. He is serving a 45-year prison sentence for taking another human’s life during a drug robbery--something he takes full accountability for. He was raised in a mixed Native American/white family in the Hilltop Area of Tacoma, Washington, one of the roughest places to live in the country– ravaged by over-policing, gangs, violence, and drugs.  He is the co-founder of Look2Justice, a grassroots organization led by criminal legal system-impacted people that works to transform the legal system by providing civic education and empowerment programs for incarcerated people and their loved ones.  His writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, HuffPost, Marshall Project, Insider, Jewish Currents, BuzzFeed, The Appeal, and many more. He is currently in the process of working on a book manuscript about solitary confinement. christopher-blackwell.com/


Sara BennettSara Bennett
After 18 years as a public defender, Sara Bennett turned her attention to photographing women with life sentences, inside and outside prison. Her work has been widely exhibited in solo shows including at the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, OR, and in group shows, including the Blanton Museum of Art’s Day Jobs, and featured in publications such as The New York Times, Variety and Rolling Stone’s “American (In)Justice,” and others. sarabennett.org/


Brian FrankBrian Frank
A San Francisco native, Brian Frank has created social documentary projects across the Americas focusing on cultural identity, social inequality, violence, workers rights and the environment. A Professor of Journalism and Catchlight Global-Fellow, Frank has led visual storytelling workshops for professional educators and journalists across the USA and children and teens in the U.S. and Mexico and lectured on visuals-based curriculum at universities nationwide. His work has been recognized with numerous awards and featured in many publications. brianfrankphoto.com/

Lou Jones
When not traveling, Lou Jones exhibits at schools, museums, galleries, libraries, and institutions around the world. Throughout his career, Jones has undertaken personal long-term projects, such as Japan, tall ships, jazz, pregnancy and photographing people on fourteen death rows in the USA, resulting in two books and many exhibitions. In recent years, Jones has been documenting all 54 countries in contemporary Africa, trying to change the narrative from stereotypical negative topics of poverty, pestilence, and conflict: www.panAFRICAproject.org.