— These images were photographed at the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Philadelphia, PA
Michael Hower is a photographer from Central Pennsylvania where he resides with his wife and two boys. His experience with digital photography began five years ago. Over that time, he has amassed a resume of over a hundred exhibitions and publications. His work has been featured in shows at the Pennsylvania State Museum, PA; Biggs Museum of Art, DE; Masur Museum of Art, LA; Marshall University, WV; and the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, OH. He had a solo show this past fall at the Rehoboth Art League entitled “Abandoned Places.” This series of photographs examines the abandoned prison cells of Eastern State Penitentiary. The Penitentiary subscribed to a theory of rehabilitation that proscribed confinement and a lack of interaction with other inmates. This ran counter to the prevailing system in the United States at the time where harsh physical punishment was the norm. Ideas of church and religious experience are embodied in the building and served as a guide for how prisoners should be rehabilitated: hallways looked like that of a church; low doorways required one to bow, seek penance from a greater power; a single small skylight lit each cell, a proverbial “eye of God.”
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