#FriFotos: Stone

Stone is hard and cold, dark and unforgiving. Like the prisons it surrounds.

Prisons are fascinating, if unconventional, tourist spots. For this #FriFotos I’d like to show you two very different portraits of prison life.

The first is the courtyard at Robben Island in South Africa, where political prisoners (among them Nelson Mandela) were sent during the apartheid era. Black prisoners were made to sit in this courtyard surrounded by stone, under the harsh African sun, and labor – chipping stones, incidentally, under the watchful eye of their white guards.

The second photo is of Al Capone’s stone-encapsulated cell in Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Capone was a true American gangster, a celebrity of crime. His furnishings were quite luxurious (hey last week’s theme!) and quite atypical for accommodations at ESP. Capone served an eight-month sentence inside this cell for carrying a concealed weapon, shortly after the famous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago. He later spent 11 years in another famous American prison – Alcatraz.

To see a photo of prisoners on Robben Island chipping stones, click here.

Where would you rather serve time?

#FriFotos is a Twitter event founded by @EpsteinTravels. Search the hashtag every Friday to see photography from around the world illustrating the theme of the week.

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