What Photos Would You Want In Prison?

Photo by Laurie Jo Reynolds and Chris X. The prisoner requested a photo of himself in front of a blue sky.


We’re so innundated with photos these days. If you miss a loved one, you can just pull up a Facebook page or shoot them a text asking for a picture of what they’re doing. But what if you were locked away with limited access to images. What would you ask for?

My dear friend Jon forwarded me a link to this organization, YearTen.org, which chronicles life in solitary confinement for the men of Tamms CMAX, a super-prison in Illinois. For more than 10 years, many of these prisoners have been or are still living in tiny rooms, with no stimulation and no interaction. Their only salvation? Photographs.

I was moved by this idea and this organization. Perhaps you will be too – this is where you can help.

On the site, you can read the requests for pictures by the prisoners. Some ask for family photos, others ask for Jesus. Or, like the above picture, some want images of themselves dropped into a background that highlights hope, love, or something more. A few men just want something funny to look at. It’s strange to think about a photograph as a privilege, but when you’re denied everything else, a single image can be the difference between salvation and insanity.

If you want to pitch in (and maybe change someone’s life), join me in sending photos by following this link.

Change someone’s day, week, or life with a single image. Thanks.

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