The Main building of the Essex County Penitentiary stood alone on the hilltop, her battered façade illuminated by the setting sun. Five years earlier I had spent more than a month
systematically photographing the 32 acre jail complex as part of a required HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey) documentation before the institutional structures and outbuildings built between 1872 and 1929 could be demolished to make way for modern condominiums.
It was a cold December day in 2007 when I first walked through the dank prison in North Caldwell, New Jersey. The eerily silent jail complex appeared like a forbidding rusted ruin concealing deeply etched memories of its ghostly inhabitants within the walls.
My first job was to design a shot list that would become the basis for my final (107) 4” x 5” b/w film documentation. During my walk-through with architectural historian Ken Kalmis, I composed hundreds of digital images for reference.
The solutions demanded a photojournalist’s insight to stay true to the narrative, lighting skills to creatively equate ambient light and fill flash, and knowledge of the guidelines for the long-term preservation of historic documentation.
The meeting is scheduled at the Verona Community Center, 880 Bloomfield Ave., at 7:30 p.m. For more information you can email the Society at twoJVO@yahoo.com or call (973) 857-1968.
You will not want to miss this event–everyone is promised to leave with something to remember this important landmark and fully understand the contribution it made to our history.
Lisa Sullivan says
Trix – the photos are haunting and gorgeous. I wish i could be at the event but I am stuck here in the Rockies and they won’t let me out (like jail with mountains). Lisa