Sensory Deprived in Solitary
In 2010, members of the Tamm’s Campaign, lead by Laurie Jo Reynolds (MFA 2000), placed photo request forms into holiday cards given to prisoners. This initiated Photo Requests from Solitary, a project in conjunction with Tamms Year Ten Campaign Office now on view in the Sullivan Galleries. A WBEZ segment developed by Lauren Chooljian and broadcast on November 16 focused on the volunteer photographers tasked with capturing the inmate’s desired images. Fulfilling the inmates’ photo requests “can make a difference in somebody's life enough that they feel better that day, they're nicer to a guard that day, you know they have a little more home," explains Reynolds. While many volunteers feel their participation eases the sensory deprivation of the inmates, others have been more conflicted. Volunteer Greg Ruffin says he just hopes his photos could function as an “antidote to all this violence.” Tamms Year Ten represents a coalition of activists fighting to close Tamms Supermax Prison in Illinois, where prisoners are held in solitary confinement.