Writer Pete Brook first started his photo blog, Prison Photography, in 2008 as a way to start a conversation around American prisons that he says wasn’t being had. Brook had been drawn to prison reform since a 2004 visit to a California prison. He had studied formal art history in school, so the project was a natural fit.
In Prison Photography, Brook showcases photographers who he believes are committed to reflecting the voices of those within the prison system. Since its start, the blog has evolved to include international art galleries, lectures about the connection between art and social justice, and a 12-week, crowd-funded, journey across the United States where he interviewed photographers who’ve focused on America’s prisons.
Just don’t call him an activist. According to Brook, his work comes from a shared perspective with activists, but his focus is to continue those conversations he wasn’t hearing early in his career. Today, Brook joins us to talk about his latest installation and the American penal system.