First Photograph: Keith Calhoun, Angola Penitentiary, Who's That Man On That Horse I Don't Know His Name But They Call Him Boss, 1981
Second Photograph: Chandra McCormick, Field Work, Angola State Prison, 2004
Slavery: The Prison Industrial Complex
From the bail bond industry and healthcare providers to companies that sell our government surveillance and monitoring tools, private corporations are involved in nearly every aspect of our criminal justice and immigration systems. They all turn a profit from mass incarceration. One of the most well known players in this space are for-profit prison companies.
Over the last three decades, the private prison industry has put a total of $11.5 million towards influencing federal elections. The annual amount the private prison industry spends on lobbying has risen quickly over the past six years, going from just under $2 million in 2015 up to $4.4 million in 2020. There is also a pattern of high-level ICE and BOP officials going through the revolving door, taking jobs within the same companies they were in charge of regulating.
Private prisons have a powerful financial incentive both to cut corners when it comes to the services they provide, and to push for policies that fuel mass incarceration. Time and time again this has led to extreme abuse of prisoners and immigrant detainees in privately run facilities. These harmful government policies that unnecessarily lock more and more people up.
Corporations are using their money and influence to block efforts to reform our criminal justice system.
It's time to limit their power so that we can create a rights-based society and a more just world.
Artists: Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick
"The picture taken by Keith with the man on the horse that was in 1980, and I have one in 2004 of a man on the horse in the field with those guys, and they've shown them juxtaposed with each other"
"If you look at the stuff I shot when I start photographing in the Eighties and you look up to the recently shot, we got them in 2019 you know, with the scenery of the fieldwork - & time just stands still." - Calhoun
Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick were born and raised in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans, Louisiana. As husband and wife team, they have been documenting Louisiana and its people for more than 25 years.
They photograph the traditions of black church services and religious rituals; community rites and celebrations, and the cruel conditions of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, a former slave-breeding plantation named for the African nation from which “the most profitable” slaves, according to slave owners, were kidnapped.
Their installation serves as a historical record of the cruel conditions of the prison labor system where inmates work on plantations as white officers surveil the prison on horseback.
You can view the artists' portfolio below