REFLECT: CONVICTS’ LETTERS TO THEIR YOUNGER SELVES
265 MAIN STREET
JANUARY 10 THROUGH FEBRUARY 22
A ponytailed, white-bearded man peers skeptically over his glasses, hands clasped in his lap. All around him, silhouetting his bulky form on a sort of chalkboard, are harsh and angry words written in blocky script — bolded, underlined, screaming with caps and exclamation points.
“Look what you’ve done to us, our sons, our career and future — DESTROYED!” they admonish. “Listen to those who love you, get their wisdom and understanding. They want to save you from yourself!”
Time offers perspective and knowledge; all of us, if allowed the chance, would give ourselves a warning, an encouragement, maybe a reproach. What would you say to your younger self?
It’s a compelling question for anyone to answer, but when posed to a dozen inmates in the Maine prison system serving a range of sentences for a variety of offenses, the result is both stark and moving. The project, fittingly called “REFLECT: Convicts’ Letters to their Younger Selves” and photographed by Trent Bell, transposes large-scale portraits of prisoners over their hand-written letters to their pre-incarcerated selves. On display at Engine in Biddeford Jan. 10 through Feb. 22, it also encompasses video interviews by Joe Carter, pictures of prison guards by Corey Desrochers and ambient sounds recorded within institution walls.
Read the entire article in our magazine pages...