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Assignment No. 2.
San Quentin Prison.


Photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto and Richard Misrach. Text by Michael Nelson.
TBW Books, 2014. 20 pp., 2 full-color plates, 9½x12".

 
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2015 by:
Publisher's Description

Assignment No. 2 is a visual document inspired by the writing of Michael Nelson, an inmate serving a 25 to life sentence in San Quentin Prison. Written while in solitary confinement in 2011 in response to a request to evaluate two photographs, the essay finds voice through the images of artists Hiroshi Sugimoto and Richard Misrach to create an eloquently piercing contemplation on the experience and mindset of an American inmate.

The project’s origins lie in the Prison University Project, a non-profit organization that provides inmates at San Quentin an opportunity to earn an AA degree. The title is derived from the second written response prompt in Visual Concerns in Photography, a class led by artists and professors Doug Dertinger and Nigel Poor in which Michael Nelson participated.

Meticulously reproduced from the legal pad the essay was drafted on, each folio is uniquely hand stamped with title and date. Designed and assembled in Oakland California, the folio’s dynamic writing and imagery is paired with an equally sculptural physicality to create a sensory and tactile experience that is unlike anything produced by TBW Books to date. 

“The darkness of the theatre sets the mood; the illuminated screen playing the role of a mouth whose light screams out to be heard, to be seen; the EXIT signs…reminders of where all the absent characters have gone.” - Michael Nelson, excerpt from Assignment No. 2

All proceeds go to the Prison University Project

Read the review by Allie Haeusslein on photo-eye Blog


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