Finding Beauty in Ruin at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Philadelphia, PA

Ready to pounce on any defectors!

Ready to pounce on any defectors!

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…

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11 thoughts on “Finding Beauty in Ruin at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Philadelphia, PA

  1. This place looks intriguing, love the images! I remember you telling me about the upcoming visit – glad you went and wrote about it for the rest of us!

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  2. This is amazing, someone just sent me a link to this place this morning, saying I should check it out when I’m in the states next year, and look at all these photos. Looks like a fantastic place to take photos.

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    • It’s soooo amazing! I just read your post that you are going to be going through PA on your trip in the spring. Definitely check it out if you can. It’s near the Rocky steps which you should also see if you’re there. You have to pay extra to bring your tripod…fyi

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