Interview with Richard Ross: Juvenile in Justice

Midtown Mocha

Originally appeared on the Open Eye Gallery’s blog, 04/09/2015

There’s a quote by Booker T. Washington that trails Richard Ross’s work closely. It’s the epigraph to his Juvenile in Justicebook and states fiercely, “The study of art that does not result in making the strong less willing to oppress the weak means little.”

Winner of the 2012 Best News and Documentary Photography Award, Ross has spent eight years photographing the sealed-off worlds of America’s juvenile detention centres, where 70,000 children are currently held.

Yet documenting is perhaps too light a word. For Richard Ross, the camera is a weapon, his photographs created with an implicit subtext that demands something more from the viewer. Our justice systems are built firmly, and uncontestably, upon a stringent power scheme. Ross turns this on its head, pointing us to back to its source and giving a voice to the imprisoned and the…

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