I had the opportunity to travel to the Bay Area in the Spring of 1999 and took the ferry to Alcatraz Island to shoot some black and white film. Alcatraz, nicknamed “The Rock” is a very mysterious place and has a very unique haunting feeling. As I walked through I could only imagine what took place in the facility. It was much bigger than I expected. The place was very cold and damp. The wind was brisk and the sea breeze was constant. Despite that, I had a wonderful time walking through the facility and taking pictures at will
At Alcatraz, a prisoner had four rights: food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Everything else was a privilege that had to be earned. Some privileges a prisoner could earn included working, corresponding with and having visits from family members, access to the prison library, and recreational activities such as painting and music. Once prison officials felt a man no longer posed a threat and could follow the rules (usually after an average of 5 years on Alcatraz), he could then be transferred back to another Federal prison to finish his sentence and be released.
Taken with my Canon EOS A2E using my Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens. The camera was set on aperture priority mode but I don’t recall the settings. I used Kodak 5052 TMX for these images. I developed the film and made the prints in my makeshift darkroom in my apartment laundry closet.
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