I received an email last week that jolted me back thirteen years.
The letter basically consisted of “remember the summer you spent documenting a prison for boys?”
I’ve had a camera in my hand since the age of six, and in 1995, as a college student immersed in photojournalism, I was given incredible access to document the Polk Youth Institution.
The prison was an antique complete with bare stone walls and no air conditioning. I shot black and white film, my beloved Kodak Tri-X that I miss dearly, and spent long evenings in the darkroom before returning to the prison the next day.
(Roberto during Lock-Down.)
I sold this story to a paper I wound up working for, The Independent Weekly, and they requested some of my photographs for their special issue celebrating 25 years of photography.
It was a humbling experience to dig through negatives I made in college. Extremely humbling. Photographs I was so excited about remain inside plastic negative sleeves, their prints long abandoned.
(“New Jack,” a new arrival.)
In recognition of my time travel to 1995, I thought I would include some of the images I made that year.
And, to The Independent, I will always love how you pushed me to become the photojournalist I am today. I can never hear the word “independent” without thinking of you.
I can’t even get upset with you for running my photos this week under the name “Cadice.”
As always, I’m humbled.