Prison Photography in the American South, 1959-1979
My PhD research considers documentary photographs taken across prison farms in the American South against the highly charged, heavily mediated political landscape of the 1960s and 70s. This thesis will focus on the photographic practices of Bruce Jackson, Danny Lyon, and Alan Lomax, examining the ways in which these images negotiate the staggering temporal and spatial isolation that characterises the southern penal farm. In asking us to see the long histories of labour and dispossession that have been strategically occluded from linear, progressive narratives of American life, these photographs, I will argue, have the potential to transform conventional histories of photography, renewing ossified ways seeing the relationship between race, labour, and land in the southern states.
My PhD is funded by the UCL Graduate and Overseas Research Scholarships and supervised by Dr Stephanie Schwartz.