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Eastern State Prison Cell Block



Eastern State Penitentiary was the first true penitentiary of it's kind in this country and most likely the world. It was the model for future prisons that...
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Eastern State Penitentiary was the first true penitentiary of it's kind in this country and most likely the world. It was the model for future prisons that were built. It was called "the Pennsylvania model," which influenced how other prisons operated.
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8 Comments | Report
Essex
 
Essex September 03, 2016
The perspective, shadows, and excellent composition work together to create a terrifying image.
Demuths
 
Demuths October 02, 2016
makes me want to sneak in at night, awesome picture.
ovosphotography
 
ovosphotography October 05, 2016
nice!
catherinethompson PRO
 
catherinethompson October 10, 2016
Nice capture. Well done.
pattibearup
 
pattibearup October 11, 2016
Great perspective!
mollie_tillett
 
mollie_tillett December 01, 2016
Very effective capture. Use of depth of field techniques is very good here. Brilliant photo :)
tracymiller_
 
tracymiller_ March 06, 2017
I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful place. Great photo
GigiJim08 PRO+
 
GigiJim08 July 30, 2017
The dimension is really fantastic. Congratulations on your award!

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken at the old Eastern State Prison in Philadelphia, Pa. It was the first prison of its kind in the United Stated and it was called the "Pennsylvania Model." One of the characteristics of its structure that made it unique was that it was originally designed for all of it's inmates to be in a state of solitary confinement, therefore, inmates weren't allowed to see or speak with one another. They weren't allowed to make any unnecessary noises or they would be disciplined. Most inmates stayed in modest surroundings, however, Al Capone's cell was very well decorated and had a floor radio. What you see in this photo is one of the common cell blocks.
Time
I remember wanting to take pictures inside of this old prison but the challenge for me was to try to take one good picture. This was a challenge because Eastern State Prison was now a very popular museum and I was looking to take a shot without the crowds which were everywhere. I saw this corridor and came back to it several times. I remembered the advice of National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore who encourages photographers to come early, be patient and stay late if you have too. So when there was a lull in the crowd I took advantage and got the shot. This picture was taken in May 2016 at around late morning.
Lighting
Another challenge for me was the lighting. Coming early when the light was great didn't help me because of the crowds. I used that time to evaluate which end of the corridor to take the shot when it was available and I chose this angel. Normally in the heat of the day is not the best time to take pictures because of the harsh light, however, with the windows in the ceiling it seemed to perfectly soften and place the light for me.
Equipment
I used a Canon 50D camera with a 50mm prime lens. I did not use a tripod because they are not allowed without prior permission. I chose not to use a flash because this is the effect that I wanted.
Inspiration
I wanted to take a picture of the first view that an inmate sees when he arrives, and the last view when he leaves. Plus when you look down the corridor and see so many doors with each door representing individual souls that are experiencing the same heart ache it should touch your heart as it did mine. Prison is something that no one wants to experience, however, we are captivated by curiosity and the mysteries of what it would be like for us if we were there. We imagine ourselves walking down to our own cell.
Editing
Normally I process outdoor photos because of the less than perfect lighting if often run into, however, I did not touch this one. I was fortunate that I was able to get it right the first time within my camera.
In my camera bag
I normally carry most of my portable equipment in my bag with all of my lens, tripod, defuser, and keep them in the trunk of my car if I need to go back and get anything. However, in my shoulder bag I usually use a Tamron 16-300 as my casual workhorse lens, but I also carry a Canon prime and zoom lens when I want to make sure of the quality.
Feedback
I took Joel Sartore's advice to heart, "do your homework...do your research on the subject before you go." I've done my internet research, and I make my phone calls. I've asked questions and took notes. When I have all of my information I would know what equipment I would need to carry on me, and then I would develop my plan and then go do it. All the while looking to develop your story through pictures and/or "the decisive moment" (Henri-Cartier Bresson), all because you are prepared.

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