Sunday, February 18, 2007

Another day... another Prison...

Another day, another prison visit... that sounds pretty casual doesn't it? Well, there was NOTHING casual about this visit inside a medium security prison. I thought the day was mine to work on backlog for my business, but the call came at 10:30 AM from my client. He wanted to know if there was any way I could make it to this event... it was last minute for everybody involved, AND, they were allowing photography inside this prison!

I had several things on my plate that I didn't feel like juggling, but the thought of getting to photograph inside a prison had me VERY intrigued... so I made the calls to see if the juggle would happen, and then I rushed to get ready to meet my client. I had to walk through the medal detectors more than anyone in our group... I just kept beeping... finally, I had everything off but my clothes... I'm in.

We walked down this never-ending hallway that had large elaborately painted words (TRUST, INTEGRITY, RESPECT, & LOYALTY) on our way to the cellblock where we would spend the next couple of hours with medium security inmates who had qualified to hear my clients talk.

I was given free reign of the facility (photographically) with an escort whom I welcomed to carry my gear so I could easily change lenses. All I can say is, "it took a few days for the numbness of this experience to wear off." I shot close to 200 photos, I could have taken 1000 (easily).

It was a day that I will NEVER forget. These are people inside paying for what mistakes they've made... hopefully LEARNING from those mistakes. I figure we're all just one mistake away from being just like them. And, as my client would say, "You each have been presented with an Opportunity!"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Busy isn't the word...

Yep, I've been a bad blogger as of late because I have been soooo busy. This week is really no different because I am working on a project within the IBI or CEO Space organization. This project is unique in that the CEO is a former-felon who turned his life around by helping other inmates prepare for the REAL world outside the confines of prison.

Don Kirchner is the writer of the book "A Matter of Time," a very interesting read. It chronicles his life on the run as a fugitive, and then his release aided by the man who helped to put him away... the prosecutor. Sounds like a movie huh? Well, the screenplay has been completed and the national book tour is happening.

I was with Don yesterday driving him around Nashville to different locations to meet some of the folks here in Nashville who actually HELP former-felons get on their feet when they enter back into the "system." It has been an eye opening experience as well as empowering for me to help someone else get their message out to the world.Here is one of the photographs I shot last night at the Nashville Drug Court. A resident program for drug offenders and drug addicts; this program is run by the state of Tennessee.