Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Philadelphia, PA

December 18, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Eastern State Penitentiary, located in Philadelphia, PA, offers some truly unique opportunities to the photographer.  It was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world. Built in 1829, Eastern State held many notable criminals including Slick Willie Sutton and Al Capone.  Today the prison stands in ruin, but efforts are being made to preserve it as a reminder of early penitentiaries that all can visit.

The architecture is impressive and includes a series of gargoyles guarding the entrance.

 

DSC1592DSC1592Doug Weldon Photography
Eastern State Penitentiary
Philadelphia, PA
DSC1587DSC1587Doug Weldon Photography
Eastern State Penitentiary
Philadelphia, PA

Inside you can view the cell blocks and the various office and common areas that were in use when the prison was in operation.  While attempts have been made to restore sections of the prison, there are ample areas where one can capture haunting images.

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For a small fee, photographers can purchase a tripod permit that is good for a year.  Tripods enable long exposure imaging that avoids the use of flash.

DSC1493DSC1493Doug Weldon Photography
Eastern State Penitentiary
Philadelphia, PA

DSC0318DSC0318Doug Weldon Photography
Eastern State Penitentiary
Philadelphia, PA

Eastern State's photography requirements are liberal and provide excellent access to areas of the prison.  To quote their web site:


"Visitors wishing to photograph only the building can do so during regular public hours. However, we ask that you honor the following policies:

  • Do not block any pathways or exhibits, or leave backpacks or tripods in these areas.
  • Refrain from loud conversations, and avoid gathering along the main audio tour route.
  • Do not touch or move any objects or artifacts.
  • Models and props are not permitted during public hours.
  • There can be no nudity, semi-nudity, or sexually explicit images filmed at Eastern State Penitentiary.

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site requires the location credit 
"Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Philadelphia, PA" in all uses of penitentiary photos in print, on the web, in broadcast, and in any other public medium."  Source: 
http://www.easternstate.org/photography-film


Keep in mind that weekends might not be a good time to expect that your compositions will be free of people, and that on weekdays you may experience school trips.  It is best to visit at opening in the morning.  Also keep in mind that the prison is NOT heated.  In winter be prepared to dress as though you are going to do an outside shoot.  

See images from this location at http://www.dougweldon.com/p194958476

 

 

 

 


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