An intimate journey into a women's prison via Polaroid

Published on 16 June 2024 at 11:04

Vintage Polaroids of female prisoners paint an intimate picture of womanhood
and identity

CNN — What is perhaps most striking about the 32 photographs that make up Jack Lueders-Booth’s new book, “Women Prisoner Polaroids,” is the intimacy that occupies each frame. Inmates wear their own clothes and pose in cells embellished with personal effects, much like any regular college dorm room; one woman clasps a biography of Mick Jagger, others are pictured with their arms wrapped around friends. A warm sensibility, typically foreign to portraits of incarceration, is notable throughout.

The Polaroid pictures, which the photographer shot alongside a wider black and white series, weren’t intentional, he suggested. In 1980 however, having been awarded two consecutive fellowships with the instant camera company, Lueders-Booth had access to infinite film and began making, “probably the most important project I did in my life. It was rewarding and wonderful, the comfort and trust with which the women came to the experience of being photographed.”

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