Haunting Portraits of the Wrongly Convicted at the Scene of the Crime

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We were first impressed by Taryn Simon’s work when we uncovered these photos she shot of bizarre contraband items found at JFK Airport in New York City. The conceptual photographer has also documented cases of wrongful conviction in the U.S. for her project, The Innocents. “At issue is the question of photography’s function as a credible eyewitness and arbiter of justice,” she writes on her website.

The number one cause for each individual’s conviction is mistaken identification, chosen through law enforcement’s use of photographs and lineups. Simon points out how an eye witness’ visual memory can change after being exposed to multiple mugshots, sketches, and other police aids — turning innocents into criminals. The men in the series were photographed at sites that related directly to their conviction, several at the scene of the crime. The artist has also captured images at the scene of arrest, misidentification, and more. Click through for a closer look at Simon’s haunting portraits.

Image credit: Taryn Simon [Spotted via Art Sponge]

Larry Mayes

Scene of arrest, The Royal Inn, Gary, Indiana Police found Mayes hiding beneath a mattress in this room Served 18.5 years of an 80-year sentence for Rape, Robbery, and Unlawful Deviate Conduct, 2002

Image credit: Taryn Simon

Tim Durham

Skeet shooting, Tulsa, Oklahoma 11 alibi witnesses placed Durham at a skeet-shooting competition at the time of the crime Served 3.5 years of a 3,220 year sentence for Rape and Robbery, 2002

Image credit: Taryn Simon

Frederick Daye

Alibi location, American Legion Post 310, San Diego, California Where 13 witnesses placed Daye at the time of the crime Served 10 years of a life sentence for Kidnapping, RApe and Vehicle Theft, 2002

Image credit: Taryn Simon

Troy Webb

Scene of the crime, The Pines, Virginia Beach, Virginia Served 7 years of a 47-year sentence for Kidnapping, Rape and Robbery, 2002

Image credit: Taryn Simon

William Gregory

Wick’s Parlor, Louisville, Kentucky With fiancé Vicki Kidwell, whom he dated prior to conviction Gregory was pool champion in prision Served 7 years of a 70 year sentence for Rape and Burglary, 2002

Image credit: Taryn Simon

Jeffrey Pierce

Lake Huron, Port Huron, Michigan Served 15 years of a 65-year sentence for Rape and Robbery, 2002

Image credit: Taryn Simon

Calvin Washinton

C&E Motel, Room No. 24, Waco, Texas Where an informant claimed to have heard Washington confess Served 13 years of a Life sentence for Capital Murder, 2002

Image credit: Taryn Simon

Ronald Jones

Scene of arrest, South Side, Chicago, Illinois Served 8 years of a death sentence for Rape and Murder, 2002

Image credit: Taryn Simon

Charles Irvin Fain

Scene of the crime, the snake River, Melba, Idaho Served 18 years of a death sentence for Kidnapping, Rape and murder, 2002

Image credit: Taryn Simon

Larry Youngblood

Alibi location, Tucson, Arizona With Alice Laitner, Youngblood’s girlfriend and alibi witness at trial Served 8 years of a 10.5 year sentence for Sexual Assault, Kidnapping and Child Molestation, 2002