Prison Life

I needed to be in the Philadelphia area Monday morning so I drove over Sunday.  That saved me driving 11 hours (over and back) all in one day.  MJ had to work all day anyway, so I left early in the morning so I could visit the Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP).  This is a site I’ve wanted to visit for some time.  

The prison opened in 1829 and was the first true prison built in the world.  Prior to this, all prisons where just large holding bays where the inmates were all grouped together (men, women, and children).  It was designed to not only punish, but to inspire the criminal toward spiritual reflection and change.  Every cell was intended to be solitary confinement.  They never wanted the inmate to have contact with another person, including guards during the criminals stay.  Inmates were hooded whenever they were outside their cells and exposed to complete silence.

The design and concept was so novel, that more then 300 prisons in South America, Europe, Russia, China, Japan and England were based on this design and operational plan.   Toward the end of its use, the old prison needed expensive repairs.  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania closed the facility in 1971, 142 years after it accepted Charles Williams (Prisoner #1).  The facility sat abandoned for 20 years before the city turned it over to the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site Inc..  Today thousands of visitors tour the site every year as a ruin and historical site. 

One of the famous inmates was Al “Scarface” Capone.  I may post a picture of his cell at a later day.  They have it restored to how it looked when he used it. 

You can learn more about this location at:

Today’s Photo:

I took this spooky photo using auto-bracketing to capture 7 exposures.  I merged them together in Photomatix Pro to get my base HDR image.  Then I edited it in Photoshop CS6 to finish the picture.  I’ve seen others post a picture of this room before in the past.  Something about that single barber’s chair in this dark room that makes this image feel evil.

Additional Note:

One of my photos will be featured on this website today:

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, please click the picture above. 

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, please click the picture above.