Light, a prisoner of time
By d s
26 Nov 2008
The Eastern State Penitentiary located in Philadelphia, which opened in 1829, was a landmark prison of its time, abandoning corporal punishment and ill treatment. The proponents of the Penitentiary chose to subject their inmates to confinement in solitude with labor designed to create genuine regret and penitence in the criminals.
The prison's earliest cellblocks represent the first modern building in the United States. Seven cellblocks radiate from a central rotunda. Each prisoner had a private cell, centrally heated, with running water, a flush toilet, and a skylight. This was at a time when the presidential White House had no running water and was heated with coal-burning stoves.
The penitentiary's sky-lit cells housed some of the most notorious criminals including Al Capone. After 142 years of consecutive use, the prison was completely abandoned in 1971. It is now in a state of semi-ruin.
For this story, I focused on light and decaying elements of light fixtures along with crumbing cell blocks bathed in natural light at the penitentiary to provide us a glimpse of a world that once was.