Discipline and Photographs - The Prison Experience



". . . a comprehensive view of prison photography in the United States from its nineteenth-century beginnings to the present, which is informed by contemporary critical theory, sociology, historical perspective and a sensitive knowledge of photographic art. Hugunin's multi-disciplinary approach, which is admirably unified by a subtle and nuanced analysis of the shifting boundaries between ‘outsiders' and ‘insiders' in the encounter between the photographer and the prison system, shows not only the complexities of prison photography as a genre, but the ways in which society more generally responds to the phenomenon of incarceration. Through precisely detailing the relation between photographers and subjects in a series of studies of the major bodies of work in prison photography, Hugunin reveals the strategies by which we understand and orient ourselves to those who have been set apart from and rejected by society." – Michael A. Weinstein

". . . an absorbing story; a serious and excellently presented contribution to understanding the prison." – Norval Morris, Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Criminology, Emeritus, The University of Chicago

"Some academics would have us believe that photography is an apparatus of repressive state control. In 1979 Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish identified the camera as an important tool of a penal system that uses surveillance as a form of discipline. In 1988 John Tagg's The Burden of Representation looked more closely at the "mug shot," what it reveals about our attitude towards the criminal, and what it reveals about the medium's claim to an objective truthfulness. James R. Hugunin offers a new chapter in this discourse in A Survey of the Representation of Prisoners in the United States. His book, inspired by Foucault, examines various "carceral narratives" (both visual and verbal) to discover whether they are "repressive" or "empowering." Hugunin looks at a wide range of texts by prisoners and by our culture at large: film, writing, and photography. Photographers such as Danny Lyon, Richard Avedon, and Jacob Riis are presented as participants in an unfair and repressive narrative mode that typecasts prisoners. This mode perceives the prisoner as an "other," a genetically inferior creature. As a counterpoint, Hugunin presents prisoners' own images which tell their individual stories about the harsh conditions of prison life ... Hugunin's book is a good scholarly read for those interested in photography's role in our penal system." - Jayme Guokas

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

Illustrations; Foreword by Norval Morris; Author's Preface

Introduction: Punishment, The Terrible Solvent

1.Architecture Parlante and Homo Criminalis

2.An Era of Reform

3.The Crime of Punishment

4.McCune the Exceptional

5.Considered Photographs

6.Killing Time

7.Video Carceri

8.Doing Time/Doing Death

Conclusion: Empowering Narratives

Bibliography, Index