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Jack Lueders-Booth - Women Prisoner Polaroids

Jack Lueders-Booth - Women Prisoner Polaroids

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In the fall of 1977, Jack Lueders-Booth began teaching photography to the inmates of MCI Framingham, a women’s prison. 

During his decade at the facility, he would make a series of Polaroid images produced collaboratively with the women who lived in the prison. 32 of these images are presented in this new book alongside oral histories taken at the time by Booth. 

Founded in 1878, MCI Framingham was opened to house incarcerated women for the crime of giving birth out of wedlock i.e., begetting, (Hester Prynne’s crime in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel, The Scarlet Letter). Some few years later MCI Framingham began incarcerating women for shoplifting, organised prostitution, using and trafficking drugs, armed robbery, child abuse, and murder. Many women at Framingham were convicted for helping their husbands or boyfriends commit crimes. By the Mid-70s, the correctional facility was part of an ongoing normalisation experiment that sought to mitigate the psychological consequences of incarceration. In Booth’s images, neither inmates nor guards are uniformed, cells are made to look like dormitory rooms, and inmates can furnish and decorate them within the constraints of guidelines. Male inmates were introduced, constituting 20% of the communal population. Many of the inmates in Lueders-Booth’s images had dependent children who were placed in the care of relatives or court-appointed foster parents, they were allowed to visit with an adult.

“My time there was scheduled to end in 1979, but by then I had begun photographing these women, and what began at their request grew to occupy me personally, and fully. I wished to continue and did, remaining at MCI Framingham for another 7 years, photographing, while also tutoring inmates who had a continuing interest in photography.' Jack Luders-Booth 

Included alongside Luders-Booth's images, are a series of anonymized verbal accounts, and poems taken from female prisoners at MCI Framingham Prison

For all of my sisters who have felt the weight of
life’s cruelties as the knife of life’s coldness
pierced their hearts,
And all traces of warmth were drained away.
they vaguely remember something called love,
a distorted version of pimp,
as coat hangers, baseball bats, anything in
reach came at them through the air
And afterwards their pimp says, “It’s because
I love you baby.

-Tina Williams, 1980

 

Title: Women Prisoner Polaroids
Publisher: Stanley/Barker, 2024
Photographer: Jack Lueders-Booth 
Format: Cover — Hardback / Index cut jacket
Size: 25 x20 cm
ISBN:

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