Shoot out: Outdoor exhibit holds post-prison photos

Shades of purple: This image Karen, taken at a shelter shortly after she served 35 years in prison, will be part of the 2018 “Fence exhibit” in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Go outside to see life on the inside!

A Park Slope artist will show off her photos of women who have been incarcerated on the Fence, an annual outdoor art exhibit that stretches the length of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Sara Bennett is among the 84 photographers in the exhibit, each with five giant photos on display until Sept. 10, along a fence that travels from Pier 5 to Empire Fulton Ferry Park.

Bennett’s images are part of her larger photo series titled “Life After Life in Prison: The Bedroom Project,” in which she documents the bedrooms of women who have been released after serving between 15 and 30 years behind bars for violent crimes. Showing these women in a location that is relatable to everyone helps to humanize them in the eyes of the public, said Bennett.

“Bedrooms are private spaces. For the women I photographed, allowing me and the viewer in is a way of saying, ‘I’m here, I’m a real person—look at me,’ ” she said.

Many of the featured women are still rediscovering their right to privacy, after decades without it. Bennett said her images showcase similarities and differences between life in a home and life in a cell.

“In prison, they are locked in, they can’t lock their doors, their possessions are limited, and they get moved around a lot—not because they want to be moved, but because the prison bureaucracy doesn’t want people to become too comfortable or stable,” said Bennett.

The photographer hopes her images can help people to analyze the stereotypes they hold about prisoners, and to realize that the formerly-incarcerated may be all around us.

“One of the reasons I wanted to show these images is because a lot of people have an image of what long-term women lifers look like,” she said. “People forget that a lot of them come home, have been back for a long time, and are not going back. Society forgets about them but they need to be part of the conversati­on.”

Bennett and several other photographers will discuss their work during a free public tour of the Fence on July 19 at 6:30 pm.

“The Fence” in Brooklyn Bridge Park (Furman St. between Old Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue in Dumbo, On display through Sept. 10. Free.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Updated 5:40 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: