digital c-print, suede, artist frame
121.9 x 101.6 (cm)
48.0 x 40.0 (inch)Central to Smith’s project is a series using photographs that inmates paid their jailers to take with their visitors in front of exterior-scene mural backdrops. Though these images function as a sort of souvenir—creating a fictionalized memory of freedom—they are also produced and paid for by forced labor: the murals are often painted by inmates themselves, who pay for the photos with money they earn by working (visitors are not permitted to pay) ... Smith frames examples of these photos with black suede. The obscured faces undo the photograph’s implication of freedom. - From Diana Hamilton's "Firsthand at Arm's Length," Art in America, June/ July issue, 2018.