Abandoned Jails

I've been to a few abandoned jails and they are always interesting to photograph. They seem like torture chambers when there is no life around, lights, noise, blankets, and activity. They take on a dastardly dizzy feel -

Taking advantage of tense stairwell and making it more vertiginous by angling shot askew.

The last walk from prison into courthouse.

Reminders of institutionalization.

The claustrophobic feel of isolation.

Messages left behind.

Taking advantage of the thing that prisons have in spades - repetition.

Closed spaces.

Remaining furnishings.

Eastern State Penn

In an interesting study done on Eastern State Penn in Philly, researchers found that when rain hit the building, it sent infrasound through the tubular hallways and created lots of very unsettling feelings often associated with hauntings.

There are many dozens of abandoned prisons open for public tours and even private ghost tours. They are particularly trying to photograph from an urban exploration perspective because of the tight hallways, bars, lack of interest, repetition and hard surfaces. It takes a bit of a challenge to find that one sweet shot that totally nails it. For me, it was this very poignant one - hate messages written by a prisoner and the bars creating a cross shadow over them. Remember, sometimes you don't have to show everything, just tell a story with a tantalizing tidbit.


  1. The old Globe jail was a fantastic place for a ghost hunt and to take pictures. I hope we get the opportunity to do both at other jails.

  2. A few years ago we went to Inveraray Jail in Scotland, it`s been made into a tourist attraction, but was very good.

  3. You should see the cages set up for spring breakers in Panama City Beach lol


Post a Comment