Responses to our work
“Richard Ross’s photos are so powerful and our efforts at helping to end these abusive punishments are greatly aided by his work.”
- Bryan Stevenson, Director of the Equal Justice Initiative
“It is war photography, photojournalism of a civil war we are prosecuting against our own children. If you have not seen it first hand you cannot credit how awful it is. Ross knows, and shows.”
-David Kennedy, Ph.D., Author and Pulitzer Prize Winner
Richard Ross’s presence at Harvard Law School was nearly as riveting as the photographs he displayed. Those photographs allowed us to create an array of collaborating sponsors we have never seen before and Richard’s presentation of materials, so seamlessly connected to the substantive matters of concern to our audience, was a prime example of the power of artistic expression as an entry way to social consciousness.
— Kaia Stern, Ph.D., Harvard Law School
To accompany the exhibition our community gained an immeasurable benefit of Ross’s first hand account of his travels and experiences with incarcerated youth. His series of photographs offers a geographical range to the circumstances and conditions amassed in photographic form. We are, after all, immersed in a visual culture, and Richard Ross knows the potency of the language of reality, though sometimes harsh and severe to the point of disbelief. Audiences are truly moved to dialogue that precedes being moved to action.
— William Dooley, University of Alabama
Ross has succeeded in documenting compelling cases of juvenile confinement and brought to life situations previously defined by numbers and words. At first we thought Ross’ work would be a useful tool in our mission, now we have found his work goes much farther than that.
- Bart Lubow, Annie E. Casey Foundation
One of the students in the class was so moved/inspired by your talk that she has spent the past year learning about juvenile justice systems, minor incarceration, and state transfer laws. The work has culminated in her thesis for UVM’s Honor’s College. She is now applying to graduate schools with the intent of studying criminal justice policy – so as to become an advocate in this area.
Tammy Kolbe, University of Vermont
While Richard Ross’ photos are worth a thousand words and more, it was even more powerful to have him speak to our students, faculty, and community members about his process and experiences with our young people throughout this country. As one of my students reflected after hearing Ross speak, “Now that I know, I can’t pretend I don’t know.” The talk was the culminating event that really moved people into action and brought the photos alive.
— Maisha Winn, University of Wisconsin
For me it was an extraordinary, unique, amazing, game changer type of experience. Definitively will start planning for your next visit. I am just honored to be part of your life's work.
- Julian Claudio Gotay, Director of Juvenile Justice Program, Legal Aid Society of Puerto Rico
Richard Ross is a talented, engaging, and passionate speaker. Ross came to the University of Oregon in Spring 2015 to speak with my class about his important work which is the intersection of art, journalism, ethnic studies, and law. My students were blown away and inspired to take action. He opened their eyes to a world they didn’t realize was right in their own community.
— Alison Ho, University of Oregon
Something was absolutely accomplished. My students were blown away by you and your work. The exhibit was a beautiful, sobering, and constant reminder of what really matters and the work that needs to be done in a building where too often we get lost in academic bullshit. I was so proud to be a part of it. Thank you for that gift.
- Zoë Root, Senior Policy Counsel Justice Programs Office School of Public Affairs American University
Richard Ross has devoted ten years of his life to documenting America’s hidden gulag of 71,000 teenagers in lockdown and solitary confinement. His photographs are eloquent and deeply upsetting. In person, Richard gives these raw and finely crafted images many more dimensions, offering back stories, and the kinds of human insight that are so tragically missing from so much of the juvenile justice system. His boldness, surprising humor, quiet candor, and steady gaze are unforgettable, and audiences come away from his presentations chastened, moved, and themselves emboldened.
— Peter Sellars, Theatre Director, Professor, UCLA
Great Images. They reviewed a starkness that I don’t see. I probably have blocked out because I still “see” the residents as youth/children, not, criminals. A moment to forget about being abused, unwanted or broken. Being incarcerated is not the way for some one been raped or abused. These kids need guidance and opportunity. The system cannot replace a parent. It is a way to make an adult criminal. Have we lost our way?
- Jacqueline Brackett, Volunteer Coordinator, Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center, Cleveland, OH