Steve Davis

Captured Youth
Location: Olympia
Nationality: USA
Biography: Steve Davis is a documentary portrait and landscape photographer based in the Pacific Northwest.  His work has appeared in American Photo, Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, Russian Esquire, and is in many collections, including the... MORE
Public Story
Captured Youth
Copyright Steve Davis 2024
Date of Work Feb 1997 - Jul 2005
Updated Feb 2020
Location Washington
Topics Abandonment, Adolescence, Community, Crime, Documentary, Fine Art, Gangs, Incarceration, Interior, Isolation, Minority, Photography, Photojournalism, Portrait, Portraiture, Prison, Social Justice, Spotlight, Teens, Youth
Since 1997 I've been photographing incarcerated teens in Washington State.  They live in state and county institutions, often referred to as “schools.” In fact, they are jails for juniors--full of secrets and hidden from the public's eye. Inside, everything is bright and fully exposed. Everyone is watched. The residents are here for committing crimes, but bad luck and accidents of birth contribute to the likelihood of imprisonment.

I’ve been continually struck by the simultaneous vacuity of these institutions and the intensity and passion found in the faces of its young residents. It is these faces that I asked to do the talking. There is more to learn from the eyes than from the architecture. There are exceptions. The Green Hill School’s Intensive Management Unit, for example, demanded my attention as the most inhumane living environment I ever witnessed.

It is my hope that as viewers look at these images, they consider some of the messy and complicated issues surrounding such a great number of young people who live, laugh, and suffer in exile.

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Captured Youth by Steve Davis
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