Information.• Jenn Ackerman is a photographer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has been awarded many awards, from being named in PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to watch to the Inge Morath Award. She also won the Photojournalism competition on Human Rights.• Her photographs have been recognized by the Inge Morath Award, Magnum Expression Award, CENTER Project Competition, Photojournalism Competition on Human Rights, Emerging Photographer Fund, the PGB Photo Award, the Honickman First Book Prize and others. In 2009, I was published in the Communication Arts Photography Annual and named to Photo Lucida’s Critical Mass Top 50.• She has done many projects that differ from each other an enormous amount, for example from photographing beauty pageants to serious mental illnesses that are often misunderstood; the three main things she looks at are mental illnesses in prisons, HIV in rural America and families living in Appalachia.
Jenn Ackerman states: “The system designed for security is now trapped with treating mental illness and the mentally ill are often trapped inside the system with nowhere else to go.”• I am going to be focusing on one of her projects call Trapped which was named Non – Traditional Photojournalism Publishing Project of the Year. Ackerman also made a short film for her project which won an Emmy. For this project she took photographs in prisons showing what it’s like for people with a mental illnesses and how their illnesses are treated and handled. The photographs she takes are extremely intimate and I’m not aware of another photographer that takes pictures like Jenn Ackerman and that’s why her work stands out to me. She takes pictures of things that show a story behind them and that aren’t often told.• Jenn Ackerman has done this project to show that while the mentally ill are locked up which is supposedly the best thing for them, they might be feeling trapped with nowhere to go as they’re not allowed anywhere so their state of mind mightn’t improve and how being locked up could affect their already poor state of mind.
Here Julia Lish, a correctional officer, comforts an prisoner during one his psychotic episodes. “Its goingto be OK,” she repeats as he cries and yells to the voices in his head. I like this picture as it will makepeople feel massive emotion and I feel quite sympathetic towards the man as he’s basically beingcomforted by a complete stranger and that’s the only comfort he has in the unit.The colours used in this image make the whole atmosphere seem really gloomy and it has an emptinessto it. The camera angle is also pointing down which may not mean anything more then good compositionbut to me after researching this project thoroughly it could be a way of saying to the audience thatpeople shouldn’t look down on people like this.Here Jenn Ackerman uses the rule of thirds to show a man struggling inside a sell and seeking help andattention. I like the way she’s made the background almost completely black and the sole attention is onthe man. The arm reaching in to help him is also very noticeable. She highlights the two main things inthe photograph really well.
I think this project is one of Jenn Ackermans best one’s as by taking these pictures she’s made everybody aware of what life is like for somebody dealing with their own demons inside. She uses techniques such as the rule of thirds and the contrast to make the images really stand out and show the mood that’s in the prison.This is one of the prisoners who is in his cell 23 hours a day. Jenn Ackerman tries to getacross that maybe more should be done to help this prisoners and people on the outsideshouldn’t just forget about them and pretend it’s not happening.“They are rejects of society and warehousing them in prison isnt the way to go. Most ofthem dont have life sentences - they will get out some day.” says psychologist Dr. TanyaYoung. “What do they do when they get out? There needs to be something else to absorbthem or take them in,” she adds.This pictures shows just how trapped the man is as you can see he can’t get out as there’sthe wire stopping him. He also has an urgent look on his face. Although this picture isfairly simple, the lighting highlights his face and the wire stopping him from escaping. Themain things. This image makes him look frantic and panicked, extremely trapped.
My ideas• For my project, using inspiration from Jenn Ackerman, I’d like to take image of peoples facial expressions looking down or gloomy in an empty room.• Another idea I’ve had is to show some things that go on in the fashion industry such as models sometimes not eating because of the pressure on them. I think a way to represent this could be a sign on a board that looks backstage at a fashion show saying no models on the catwalk before eating.
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