Amidst organic coffee shops, trendy restaurants, and community gardens in a quiet gentrified Philadelphia neighborhood looms the ruin of what was once a revolution in architecture and public institutions in America. The Eastern State Penitentiary stands today as a symbol of corporal punishment, spiritual reflection and change. Amongst the crumbling, rust-stained walls of tiny skylit cellblocks lies a haunting story of punishment, solitude and isolation.
I recently made the 3-hour drive from Washington DC to Philadelphia along with 35 other photographers intent on capturing compelling images of the beauty hidden within this grand historical structure.
Two menacing gargoyles positioned high on the stone walls guard the entrance of the prison providing a hint of the ominous presence that lies behind them.
Once inside the prison, your senses are immediately assaulted by dust, dankness and the bone-chillling cold of a time when inmates endured deplorable conditions while living out their sentences there.
The juxtaposition of light and dark, the bright sea foam green paint chipping off the walls and the layers and patterns of the prison’s foundation prove to be an eerily beautiful subject to photograph. This image gallery tells the story…