I shot photos inside a California state prison


"I shot photos inside a California state prison" by Pep W:

My name is Pep Williams, and I’m a Leica photographer from Los Angeles. I recently shot a project with the help of Leica called “Out of Bounds.” I’m one of the few photographers allowed to shoot inside a California state prison. I also did something never done before: because I’m a former pro skateboarder, I was able to bring skateboards into the prison for the inmates to skate. It was a truly amazing experience.

Most people who are familiar with my work know it has a true rawness and edginess to it. From my street photography, celebrity photography, to shooting portraits of gangsters.

I have always loved shooting things that are hard to shoot and almost impossible to shoot. To shoot inside a prison was one of my goals. It took me 4 years to finally get access. After I shot in the prison they loved my work so much I was invited to a second prison.

I wanted to do something different. Having free access to shoot on the prison yard I wanted to shoot something I had never seen style wise in prison photography. Most people who have shot in a prison it’s super cool work but it’s always gloomy, dark and always a negative undertone to it to remind you constantly that these people are in prison. I wanted to shoot it in a way that shows that even though they have done horrible things in their life there is still humanity there. One of the speakers that day Dennis Marinez who helped me get access if a former pro skateboarder and I am also so they allowed us to bring skateboards for the inmates to skateboard on. It was a beautiful thing.

I believe if shown in a positive way it can help others and teach them to show that some inmates are still human and can still be a help society by educating and teaching the youth that may have come up in a similar environment to avoid the mistakes they have made in their lives. Most of the people in the images are doing 15 to 20+ years and life sentences. I just believe putting a positive spin on things with positive energy just brings more positive energy and who doesn't love that.


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