Prison Inmates Appeal to Their Younger Selves in Trent Bell’s Photographs

March 07, 2014

In 2013, architectural photographer Trent Bell began a series titled REFLECT Project, in response to a friend who was sentenced to thirty-six years in prison. Bell couldn’t help but feel troubled by his friend’s circumstance and realized that there were moments in his own life where it could have easily been him in the same situation. So Bell decided to explore this and began photographing inmates within the State of Maine prison system while also having each person write a hand written letter to his younger self. Bell fuses these large scale portraits with the hand written text to create a beautifully haunting composition that resonates long after viewing. “Our bad choices can contain untold loss, remorse, and regret,”says Bell, “but the positive value of these bad choices might be immeasurable if we can face them, admit to them, learn from them and find the strength to share.”

text written by Canbra Hodsdon