This image looks more "Art Deco" than a former State Penitentiary
I will admit it, I am an Ohio boy and proud of it. When you spend the first 50+ years of your life in one state, it kinda grows on you. I have Ohio State t-shirts, bumper stickers and hoodies. All worn at appropriate and to the dismay of my SEC friends, inappropriate times. I love cheese from Sugarcreek. Graeter's Ice Cream is simply THE BEST EVER! Skyline Chili, and Quaker Steak and Lube, just round out my menu preferences. Yes sir, there is no place like home.
When the Professional Photographers of Ohio invited me to be a part of their "Mansfield Mayhem" event this year, I jumped at the chance. I've been seeing great images from here and had to experience it myself. So, I packed up the Dury's truck and headed north...500 miles north! It was worth every mile and I will gladly do it again.
I was asked to take up lighting, so I provided Westcott Ice Lights and Elinchrom Quadras. I also took a variety of modifiers to loan out and it was a giant photo play date. The only problem is, I was pretty much tied to my table with lots of expensive gear so I wasn't able to get out and shoot like I had planned. But next year...it will be different. Still, there is so much to see and feel here. We gathered in the "Bull Pen" all 50 photographers and I don't know how many models there were. It acted as a general assembly and staging area. I was able to drift down a hall into one of the cell blocks and I saw this:
This image is a pretty good representation of what you see. Even with over 100 people there, you could still feel very alone, even isolated. In the quietness you think about what it must have been like to call this place "home" for the length of your sentence. Was it cold in the winter? Was it unbearably hot in the summer? It was cramped for sure, housing two prisoners to a cell. The guides said right before the new prison was completed, they had to cram three to a cell! Unbearable. This image was taken with a Fuji X Pro 2 camera and 50-140mm lens mounted on a MeFoto tripod. The details and texture helps tell a story. The colors are important to me as I view this. On the left the very cool blue/gray color of the paint peeling cells. in the middle area, the brown, rusted, steel floor and even darker brown shadowed ceiling. Gradually it transitions into a warm yellow glow from the outside world. A world you would only see and experience for a short time each day, if you were lucky. You could see the blue skies if you got in the right spot. The beautiful, blue Ohio sky with white puffy cumulus clouds. Almost like a post card except it was a federal prison. And who wants a post card from there?