Executions in the United States are not public events. In fact, video or photo cameras have never been allowed in the death houses at the time of executions. Coupled with the fact that many of the states hold executions at nighttime or early morning hours, very few people see or experience what transpires on an execution night in this country - either inside or outside the prison.
The Death Penalty Photography Documentary Project began in 1999 as a college class assignment in Texas - artistically capturing what was available to those of us "on the outside." Since then, the project has expanded to include in-depth coverage of North Carolina, Georgia, the federal death penalty and much more.
The work-in-progress consists of thousands of images – making it the largest, most varied known collection of photos about the death penalty in the United States’ modern era. The project highlights Scott Langley's efforts as an independent photojournalist and a human rights activist - bringing together the unique combination of art, journalism and education into one powerful project.
The photos are used regularly by organizations, schools and in books and videos about the death penalty. The photos also have been exhibited around the world in recent years, having been shown in Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York, Texas, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, New Mexico, North Dakota, Malaysia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and the UK.
Scott Langley is a free-lance photojournalist based in New York. His documentary work has been widespread throughout the world in recent years – appearing in newspapers, magazines, books, encyclopedias, theater productions, calendars, films, on television and t-shirts.
In addition to work as a photographer, Scott has been an active grassroots organizer against the death penalty since 1999. A native Texan, he later went to North Carolina in 2004 where he and his wife co-founded the Raleigh Catholic Worker Hospitality House where families of death row prisoners may find free shelter, food and support.
Since 2004, Scott has served as an Amnesty International USA State Death Penalty Coordinator, first for North Carolina and Massachusetts, and now New York State. He also recently served on the board of Journey of Hope... From Violence to Healing, an organization of murder victim family members who oppose the death penalty.
Above photo: Scott (sitting at far right) taking a break from covering the Timothy McVeigh execution in Indiana in 2001. © Associated Press
Scott travels within and outside the U.S. to speak about capital punishment, his work against executions, his work with death row families, and about his photography documentary project.
His other personal and documentary work can be found at scottlangleyphoto.com.