FiftyCrows Blog

Social Change Photography

Photo Fund Winner Update: Joseph Rodriguez

with 2 comments

rodriguez_screenJoseph Rodriguez believes that photography gave him a second chance to be a productive member of society after a personal experience with the prison system in his younger years. This first hand knowledge compelled him to embark on a series of documentary projects in the juvenile justice system, examine street life in Harlem, look at the effects of homelessness, and become deeply involved with the gangs of East Los Angeles. After a year of photographing the family life of the gangs of East L.A., Rodriguez won the FiftyCrows International Fund for Documentary Photography in 1993. The project focused on the origin of gang life, which was often rooted in three generations of gang members.


Rodriguez’s international work includes projects in Mexico, Cuba, Kurdistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Romania, Zambia, and Mauritius. Post Hurricane Katrina, Rodriguez has had several exhibitions of his work in the south called “Engulfed by Katrina: Photographs Before and After the Storm” and a book in 2008 titled, “Still Here: Stories After Katrina.”

Now Rodriguez is back to focusing on the United States Criminal Justice System by exploring the process of reentry into society after time in prison. The “Reentry Project” in Los Angeles comes from a recent Pew Center on the States study, which reported that between prison, jail, and parole, 1 in every 31 adults is under some form of correctional control.

Rodriguez states, “As a photojournalist I felt compelled to humanize these statistics. At Walden House, a local drug and alcohol treatment center operating for 38 years in the state of California, I took it upon myself to photograph and interview residents, many of whom have been repeat offenders. Its program has evolved into a national leader in developing strategies to help addicts recover and maintain their lives. Today it helps treat more than 3,400 men, women, and children daily.”

Written by Zara Katz

June 23, 2009 at 11:17 am

2 Responses

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  1. Fantastic, fantastic work. Photographer or not, California is desperate for folk to take an invested interest in the injust prison system of the “Golden” state as much as Rodriguez has/does/will continue to do. Bravo Joseph.


    July 25, 2009 at 6:34 pm

  2. […] has won acclaim from all the important people that need to take notice, including Fifty Crows, which incidentally started up a blog recently.Eeveryone reading this should follow Fifty Crows […]

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