Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary, a place I have wanted to tour for a long time. I finally got that chance the past weekend and it did not disappoint. While some may find this place creepy and forboding I however saw a beauty in it. While I am aware that it was a prison and it housed people in some extreme conditions I found myself at peace there. I was fortunate that there was not a lot of people touring it at the time and I was able to stand there and just listen. The busy street outside deafened by the towering medieval walls and only the sound of the wind and an occasional bird singing their song could be heard. The building itself has been left to disintergrate before the restoration and much is still that way, yet in that decay there is life. The picture to the left was taken through a very small crack between one of the cell doors and the wall. I was not able to see inside for myself and mearly stuck my hand and camera through a crack to take this photo. To my eye it was pitch black inside but to the camera's flash this was exposed. Even in a dark dank recees of this building life struggles and grows. Along the back wall and a bit to my surprise is a tree growing through the back wall, taking root and flourishing. The cell itself has been stopped in time for who knows how many years. This may be the first time someone like me has seen inside for what may seem an eternity and I wonder who it was that spent their time here, not able to see or talk to anyone for years. Their only light was a small skylight in the ceiling and their only fresh air was given an hour a day. What brought them there and how did they cope? So many questions and no answers. I took many pictures that day and wondered what the place looked like as it was being built and new, filled with people sent there to repent. I tried to listen for those voices that resonate through the hallways when no one is around and the ghosts of times past. If you are ever in Philadelphia take some time to visit this wonderful place, hopefully you will be able to walk the grounds alone in quiet to get a sense of how small we really are and how lucky we are to walk out the front door.

For more photos of my visit to Eastern State Penitentiary visit my website at Zazzle

to be continued...

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