A photo exhibit documenting the journey from Cook County Jail, through the Joliet Receiving Center, and into the Illinois Department of Corrections’ Stateville Prison, will make its first-ever debut at Roosevelt University’s Gage Gallery beginning Thursday, Nov. 17.
An opening night reception, featuring remarks by photographer Lloyd DeGrane and former Stateville inmate and poet Simon “Sam G” Gutierrez, whom the photographer met at the Joliet Receiving Center and later followed and corresponded with while Gutierrez was at Stateville, will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Gage, 18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
Never before seen by the public, Prison: Photos by Lloyd DeGrane features 75 candid black-and-white shots taken over a lengthy period, from 1990 through 2001, by the free-lance photographer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader and other national and international publications.
DeGrane was the last person to photograph the late mass murderer Richard Speck, and Speck’s photo is part of the exhibit. Capturing the human side of life amid inhumane conditions, DeGrane also corresponded regularly with Gutierrez, a convicted bank robber, who, at the time, was serving a 30-year sentence at Stateville, and whose letters and poetry about life inside Stateville are a key ingredient of the exhibit.
“The letters tell the story from an insider’s perspective of what life is like inside prison, and they are the glue that holds the story together,” said DeGrane.
The exhibit is a journey into the incarceration experience – from its beginning at Cook County Jail in Chicago where the accused await trial, through the Joliet Receiving Center where the newly convicted are processed, and finally into the maximum-security Stateville Prison where inmates serve their time.
“This exhibit provides an insider’s look at what those who are incarcerated experience. The result is some very accessible photography that provides a glimpse into what the norm of daily life is like behind bars,” said Michael Ensdorf, director of the Gage Gallery who curated the exhibit with help from Tyra Robertson, Gage Gallery’s media assistant, DeGrane and Chicago photographer Carlos Javier Ortiz.
Sponsored by Roosevelt’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation, the Joseph Loundy Human Rights Project and Susan Rubnitz, Prison: Photographs by Lloyd DeGrane will run through Feb. 4, 2012. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
For information, visit www.roosevelt.edu/gagegallery. For media interviews and/or viewings, call Laura Janota at 312-341-3511.
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