Steve Davis

Captured Youth
Location: Olympia, WA
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... read on
Public Story
Captured Youth
Credits: steve davis
Date of Work: 02/01/97 - 07/01/05
Updated: 02/04/20
Location: Washington
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.


Also by Steve Davis —


Houseless Portraits

By Steve Davis — This portraits, created at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission, were requested by an incarcerated artist, Chad..

Back To The Garden

By Steve Davis / Olympia, Washington — This work represents people who self-identify  as 21st century hippies.  This was my sole..

House Arrest: Pandemic Style

By Steve Davis — As I stay at home under pandemic coronavirus_19 conditions, I, like so many, spend a lot of time walking my..

The Rainier School

By Steve Davis / buckley, washington — The Rainier School is a state operated institution for the developmentally disabled, not far from Seattle at..

Appearing As Regular People

By Steve Davis / Washington Correction Center, Shelton, Washington — Prison Inmates Appearing As Regular People.   These photographs represent inmates from two corrections..

Northwest Passage

By Steve Davis / Idaho, Washington, Oregon — 1970s and 1980s work about living in the Pacific Northwest.

The Western Lands

By Steve Davis / Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada, Idaho — These are recent additions to the ongoing project The Western Lands . Statement: Beauty can lurk in strange..

As American Falls

By Steve Davis / American Falls, Idaho — American Falls is a small town southern Idaho named after a real waterfall called American Falls, on the..
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