Holmesburg Prison


I had the pleasure of photographing the Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania last week.  Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America was able to get a group of 15 us in to the prison to photograph it.  Unlike Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Holmesburg is not open to the public and part of it is still used when there is an overflow of inmates.

I left my Pentax K5 home and trooped in carrying the Fuji XPro-1 and my little Fuji x100s as backup.  I was really pleased with both cameras and found it to be so much lighter to carry.  I used my new 14mm Fuji lens the entire time.  I also shot in a 1:1 aspect ratio which provides this wonderful square format.

The photograph above is looking down the hallway of one of the cell blocks.  You can see that the paint is just peeling away.  I loved the blue light spilling from the skylights in the cells onto the hallway floor.

This is one of the prison cells.  You can see where the tree roots have come through the brick into the cell.





The cell below was interesting because someone had left an orange prison jump suit on the bed and I  loved the contrast of the orange against the beautiful green walls.





This is a close up of a prison room that actually had a window in it.  I loved the the light spilling in.



20 thoughts on “Holmesburg Prison

  1. My biological grandfather was an inmate here. My family knows very little about him and what they do know is both troubling and fascinating, to say the very least. One of the things we know for certain is that he was among the many victims subjected to the horrifyingly inhuman “experimentation” that occurred in this dank hell. I’ve devoted a lot of time trying to figure out this elusive relative of mine. Every tiny rumor, every back ally conversation with junkies who knew someone, who knew someone who was once acquainted with him in some long forgotten past-life, brings me a little closer to understanding the complexities of ‘David Johnson’. These shine a small, yet significant, beam of light on my deeply troubled grandfather’s life. Despite his ghost-like existence and the fact that my own father never even met the man, I’ve always felt a strange foreign connection to him. A very bitter sympathy that I relate to. The eerie stillness in these pictures really speak to me. All the beauty and all the agony

    • Thank you for telling me your story and I am glad my image helped a little bit. You may want to reach out to the people at the Holmesburg prison since it is still active. They may be able to shed some light on your grandfather.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: