Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiaryphotos by Paul Drozdowski

This is not a study of decay as much as a record of what has decayed. Over and over in these photos we have to consider what is and what was. The brightness of light and the solidity of certain geometric forms, forms that are or always look like bars or doors, recur in the images presented. All else has corroded.

A consideration regarding these photos is why they do not grip, even as we see the series move into ever so much more bleakness, even beginning to see in the later photos light itself a different way. I think the reason why they do not grip is obvious. If we ever told ourselves that this old prison was saying more about life, we’d know more about life than we ever really wanted to know.

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