Eastern State Penitentiary

On December 29 I visited Eastern State Penitentiary with my husband for our 13th wedding anniversary. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and we thought this seemed as good a time as any to go. I took advantage of their equipment fee {$10 good for a year} and brought along the tripod. It was a cold day, but not unbearable. See, there isn’t heat or air conditioning so what you experience outside the stone walls is what you get inside the stone walls.

I have to say the place is incredible! It is also huge. For reference, Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true “penitentiary,” a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone {Eastern State Penitentiary}. We were there five hours and still did not see everything. A return trip is definitely in the cards!

So, to let you feel like you’ve been there yourself or to give you a feel for what to expect if you go, here are some of my favorite images from that day.

OutsideOutside of Eastern State Penitentiary. A bit intimidating.

Outside Guard TowerOne of the corner outside guard towers from the inside.

Hallway The fact that the cabinets are still on the walls is incredible. And the patina on them now is beautiful.

Central guard tower You can see the central guard tower almost everywhere…even through doorways in hallways.

Corridor entrance gatesEntrance to corridor two. I admired the use of the Pennsylvania keystone symbol over the door.

Cross in the skylightThe detail in the skylight was unexpected.

Door outside the chaplain area.I am a sucker for doors and these doors are beautiful. Maybe I just have a thing for wooden double doors.

Plants growing through a windowThe greenery growing on the outside of this window has grown tall.

Barber shop chairA barber shop chair in a cell block.

Metal bed frame in cell A lone metal bed frame in a prisoner cell.

Central guard tower from the outsideA view of the central guard tower. The day was cold, but the sky was the perfect backdrop.

Murals in the Chaplain's areaThese murals were painted by a prisoner in the Chaplain’s rooms. Gorgeous!

Entrance to hospital wingMany photographers have taken this image. To me it’s iconic to ESP. I had to have one as well.

Surgery roomThe surgical room. The hanging light was installed much later. Early surgeries were done under the skylight.

Central guard tower More of that beautiful blue sky behind the central guard tower.

Prisoner cellA prisoner’s cell illuminated by late afternoon sunlight.

Have you been to Eastern State Penitentiary? I thoroughtly enjoyed the visit and look forward to going back!

All photographs taken are from Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA.


Around Philly

Hello All!  I trust you all had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday and have finished all your Christmas shopping.  😉  Our Thanksgiving was  nice and no, I’m not done with my Christmas shopping either.  Plenty of time…plenty of time…

I’m throwing up a few photos from last weekend, finishing off images taken in Philadelphia.  I love going into Philadelphia, honestly.  It’s such a great city!  Lots of things to do, easy to walk around, great food.  It really is one of my favorite cities (I have to admit, London is my favorite.  Shhh…don’t tell Philly!).  So much to photograph in Philadelphia, but I limited myself to just a few fun photos for today.

Tomorrow, I’m announcing a challenge I’m undertaking.  If you’re a photographer, professional or amatuer, feel free to join in.  More details tomorrow though!  I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you.

But, for now, photos of Philadelphia!

We were up early (5:00 a.m.) for the Philadelphia Half Marathon last Sunday. When we left the hotel, it was still black out. As we waited for the race to start, the sun rose over the city. I loved how the sky looked through these trees near the Art Museum.

This gorgeous church is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. It was still too early to see people going to services, but I am sure it is as gorgeous inside as it is outside. Look at those doors! And the statues on the second level. Beautiful.

In front of the Art Museum in Philadlephia (which you can see in the background) is a Eakins Oval. In the center of Eakins Oval is a very large statue. This lady is just one of several statues surrounding the focal point statue of George Washington.

At the top of the Bejamin Franklin Parkway, across from the Art Museum (yes, THAT Art Museum, the one where Rocky climbed the famous stairs) is a beautiful fountain. Four large sculptures blow out water into the fountain while smaller animal sculptures blow water as well. I had seen this fountain from afar, but never close up before. If you look closely at the green statue on the left, you can see the Art Museum in the background.

Suburban Station is an underground rail station that is part of Philadelphia's SEPTA rail system. Opened on September 28, 1930, it was a stub-end station replacing the above ground Broad Street Line. Almost all trains make a stop at this station, which was recently renovated in 2007. The architecture of the building really drew me in, as it is so classic of art deco design.

I am addicted to beautiful doors. I really believe a gorgeous door says a lot about a building. I was addicted when we were in Europe to taking door photographs. When we walked by a church in Center City Philadelphia and saw these doors I stopped mid-step to get an image. Oh what I wouldn't give to photograph a couple in front of them!