About the Photographer
American, b. 1959
Inspired by the sight of a newly constructed prison glowing in a nighttime prairie landscape, Stephen Tourlentes began his series of photographs of penitentiaries around the United States in 1996. Tourlentes found the glaring surveillance light of the prison beautiful from a distance yet deterring at close range, forming, as he describes it, "a physical and psychological border that affects those inside and out." Using an 8-by-10-inch view camera and working at night, Tourlentes creates luminescent photographs requiring exposure times ranging from five minutes to two hours.
Stephen Tourlentes received his BFA from Knox College and an MFA (1988) from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, where he is currently a professor of photography. His work is included in the collection at Princeton University, and has been exhibited at the Revolution Gallery, Michigan; Cranbook Art Museum, Michigan; and S.F. Camerawork, among others. Tourlentes has received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Polaroid Corporation Grant, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship.