Ken Light and his camera were permitted unparalleled access to Texas Death Row. His stark, powerful images show where and how the condemned live. In the year he took these pictures, fourteen men were executed in Texas. Suzanne Donovan's accompanying essay, "Shadow Figures: A Portrait of Life on the Row," draws upon her interviews with the condemned men and with prison authorities, family members, and members of victims' families Whoever opens this book will want to look away, for the pictures and words force us to gaze intimately into the eye of death. Since 1976, when the U. S. Supreme Court upheld this country's death penalty laws, the population on death row has grown steadily. Of more than 3,000 convicts awaiting execution nationwide, most are male, and over 400 are incarcerated on death row in the state of Texas. With ninety percent approval, no other place in America has sanctioned the death sentence so overwhelmingly as Texas. Ken Light's raw, austere photographs and the accompanying text reveal what we have created in the hopeless world of court-ordered death. Who are the men who exist there? What do they look like? How do they survive, and what are the rhythms of their daily lives? While outsiders focus on the final act of execution, the real drama unfolds each day in this closed and troubling world. Ken Light is a social documentary photographer whose work has appeared in books, magazines, and exhibitions. His published collections include Delta Time, To the Promised Land, With These Hands, and In the Fields. Suzanne Donovan is a freelance journalist, a former director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and project specialist for the Texas Council on Family Violence.
Arts & Photography, Photography, General,