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The Lorton Prison Project

Some of you may be familiar with the section of the former Lorton Prison along Route 123 in Fairfax County that was renovated in 2004. That part was actually the women’s prison, the men’s prison sits a few miles away and has been derelict and abandoned for well over a decade.

The Men’s prison is now being renovated into a mixed-use residential community by my client, The Alexander Company of Madison, Wisconsin. The project is called Liberty Crest at Laurel Hill, it is truly a fascinating place with quite a sorted past but a very bright future ahead of it.
Since the prison is on the National Register of Historic Places, parts of it had to be photographed to the standards of the Historic American Buildings Survey using large-format, archivally processed black and white film. This is a medium that I worked in for many years prior to the digital age but had not used in over a decade. Other challenges included the overall poor condition of the site and the lack of electricity in the buildings. Nearly all of the interiors had to be lit, some of the locations were in total darkness until we brought in lighting to produce the 70 images required for the assignment. It truly was an incredible experience!