School of Art, Media, and Technology

Interview: Photo Faculty Jeanine Oleson on ‘Photo Requests from Solitary’

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MOM, MONEY AND MANSION—Robert T. Robert, a man with a serious mental illness, sent Tamms Year Ten a photo of his mother, who had died the previous year. Because he had no family and no visitors, he was hopeless and desolate. He asked for an image of “my mother standing in front of a mansion, or Big Castle, with a bunch of money on the ground. OR if you can’t do that, THEN a substitution is a big mansion or castle with a bunch of money in front of it and a black hummer parked in front of it. I truly appreciate this a lot… Now I know somebody out there in the world cares about us in here.” Photo by Jeanine Oleson, 2013.

Jeanine Oleson, Parsons MFA and BFA Photography Faculty, was interviewed during her recent residency at the Hammer about her project Photo Requests from Solitary. Mia Lewis writes of the project:

In 2013, Oleson joined Laurie Jo Reynolds and Jean Casella as part of a project called Photo Requests From Solitary, which began as an initiative to support efforts against the inhumane conditions implemented in prisons across the United States. Individuals held in solitary confinement units or supermax prisons were invited to request an image of “anything at all, real or imagined,” and these requests were fulfilled by artists who reinvented places, people, dreams, and memories.

We asked Jeanine about her involvement in this project and its larger goals and implications to promote visibility and activism within the community. Read on to learn how you and other artists can contribute and join the conversation.

Read the full interview here.

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