Perceptions and Questions for Richard Ross

Photography is powerful. A camera can manipulate an image to show you what the photographer sees, rather than just how the world views it. With Richard Ross’s work, he takes that manipulation of reality but instead manipulate’s our perceptions rather than just the visual itself.

Ross captures the visual as it is, neither manipulating the situation through posing, staging, creative lighting, or anything else. He shows us the world as it stands. He then adds the tales, the true stories, that show us the lives behind the pictures. Through those heart-wrenching stories, in combination with the dismal photographs, create a portrait of a world that defies our perceptions. We, as a society, imagine juvenile detention centers being full of hard criminals. Violent offenders with hearts of stone and whose paths to prison were crafted entirely by their own hand. Ross’s work shows us otherwise.

So my three questions for Richard Ross:

  1. How do you keep your distance from your subjects? Not in a physical sense, but how do you keep from creating an emotional attachment during such an emotional journey?
  2. In a personal sense, what were you hoping to gain from this experience?
  3. What are your personal goals for future projects, in relation to juvenile incarceration and otherwise? Do you feel you can move past this project,or is it something you will continue for the rest of your career?
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