A new book shows the painted backdrops that inmates and their visitors pose in front of for photographs.
Artist Alyse Emdur‘s new book shows the murals that are often found in prison visiting rooms. Prison Landscapes, published by Four Corners Books, features a large collection of photographs of inmates and visitors in front of the backdrops. These often show idyllic or fantasy scenes (mountains, waterfalls, under the sea, tropical beaches, etc.) and are in high contrast with prison life.
Creative Review notes that Emdur invited hundreds of American prisoners to send her photographs for the collection, after discovering an old photo of herself posing in front of a beach scene while visiting her brother in prison.
These backdrops are often painted by talented inmates, and the photos are given to visitors as gifts to take home. Prison Landscapes “explores this little known and largely physically inaccessible genre of painting and portraiture seen only by inmates, visitors, and prison employees.” Click through to see some images from the collection: