PHOTOGRAPHER MONOGRAPHS

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Paperback, 6.5 x 9.25 in. / 192 pgs / 158 color.

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Catalog: FALL 2012 p. 88   

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ISBN 9780956192868 TRADE
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Alyse Emdur: Prison Landscapes

Interview with Darrell Van Mastrigt.

Featured image is reproduced from <I>Alyse Emdur: Prison Landscapes</I>. The caption reads, "I think the murals are supposed to represent illusions. Even if I pretended that I was someplace else, reality would not let that moment last long. I’m always aware of where I’m at. The illusion serves as an escape for some but for me, it is only a prop to make me
feel like I should be happy in a place where everyday is sad. I like being in front of the camera and I like photography period. Nobody has a camera in here and we can’t take pictures outside of the prison." - Antoine EalyIn Prison Landscapes artist Alyse Emdur (born 1983) presents over 100 photographs of prison inmates presenting themselves in front of the idealized landscapes of painted visiting-room backdrops, posing with their visitors and pretending, for a moment, that they are elsewhere. Prison Landscapes explores this little-known genre of painting and portraiture seen only by inmates, visitors and prison employees. Created specifically for escape and self-representation, the paintings of tropical beaches, waterfalls, mountain vistas and cityscapes invite sitters to engage in fantasies of freedom. Prison Landscapes offers viewers a rare opportunity to see America’s incarcerated population, not through the usual lens of criminality, but through the eyes of inmates’ loved ones. The book includes correspondence with prisoners and an interview with prison artist Darrell Van Mastrigt.

Featured image is reproduced from Alyse Emdur: Prison Landscapes. The caption reads, "I think the murals are supposed to represent illusions. Even if I pretended that I was someplace else, reality would not let that moment last long. I’m always aware of where I’m at. The illusion serves as an escape for some but for me, it is only a prop to make me feel like I should be happy in a place where everyday is sad. I like being in front of the camera and I like photography period. Nobody has a camera in here and we can’t take pictures outside of the prison." - Antoine Ealy

Alyse Emdur: Prison Landscapes

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FROM THE BOOK
"In 2005, I was going through a family photo album at my parents' house and I found a Polaroid photograph of myself at age five. I was pictured with my older brother and sister in front of a tropical beach scene in the visiting room at Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey. Growing up, I was accustomed to the tradition of posing in front of backdrops for school pictures, holidays, and at amusement parks but, the backdrop in prison felt different. It amplified the sadness of visiting him. The painting behind us represented freedom, the exact opposite of the prison's mission and the reality my brother was living. My sister and I could go to the beach, but our brother could not go with us. We posed in front of this painting of a beach instead and made us more comfortable showing our friends the picture. We could say, 'This is our brother,' instead of saying, 'This is our brother in prison.' From the picture, no one would know he was incarcerated."

Excerpt is from Alyse Emdur's Introduction, reproduced in Prison Landscapes.

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