Listening To Those Who Are Photographed

Isadora Kosofsky documented a New Mexico family wracked by addiction and incarceration. Now, they respond to her images.

Vinny’s mother Eve visits him after he was placed in custody of his aunt, who lived three hours away.

“These pictures … reminds us of what dope has done. What incarceration has done. What we have lost. The last five years.” — David

Isadora talks and texts frequently with Vinny and Krystle, his live-in girlfriend, as well as with David and with Felicia, the mother of David’s daughters. But phones are often disconnected or changed. Living situations vary.

Isadora’s conversation with David and Felicia

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Three brothers, from left to right, Vinny, then 8, David, then 13, and Michael, then 3.
Vinny’s mother Eve comforts him during visitation at the detention center.
David, then 19, sits in the recreation yard of the jail.
Felicia and their 10-month-old daughter Lily see David through video visitation.

“I don’t want people to see me over that little monitor. I don’t want to see any one over the little monitor.” — David

Seeing my daughter over the little camera makes it harder to go back to jail. It’s both positive and negative in the sense of it don’t really stop you from going back, you know. But seeing your little daughter over the little camera sure as fuck makes it harder to go back. I don’t want anyone to come visit me when I’m in jail. How do I say this? I don’t want people to see me over that little monitor. I don’t want to see any one over the little monitor. I don’t want people to remember that.

David, Eve, and Vinny huddle together in the parking lot outside the courthouse after David is proven innocent on his charges.

“They need to change the minimum age requirement for COs. They shouldn’t have a young guy in charge of older people.”

Isadora: What have you missed out on in life?

Eve cries after learning that the court will not allow Vinny to live with her and has ordered him to live with his paternal aunt.
Vinny and David stand together before a summer storm in Northern New Mexico. Vinny lived with his Aunt after his release from due to the court ruling that prevented him from returning to his mother’s apartment.
Vinny and David lay down at night after spending the day together. “Vinny broke into my heart”” says David when asked about their bond.
David and Felicia’s legs on the motel bed, 2013.
David feeds his daughter Mary Jane.
Eve and her youngest son Michael in the pool. Michael’s greatest wish is to have a hundred hugs a day.
Vinny and his girlfriend Krystle in 2015. Vinny helps raise Krystle’s 2 year-old daughter.


Perspectives on Visual Storytelling

Everyday Incarceration

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Presenting current and archival images on Instagram that tell stories of 40 years of mass incarceration in the U.S. Curated by Zara Katz & Lisa Riordan Seville



Perspectives on Visual Storytelling