© Christopher Michel

© Christopher Michel

Brian, a San Francisco native, has worked on social documentary projects across the Americas that focus on cultural identity, social inequality, violence, workers rights and the environment.

His project Downstream, Death of the Colorado, is held in the permanent collection at the United States Library of Congress and was recognized by POYi with the Global Vision Award. After completing the journalism program at San Francisco State University, Brian worked for The Wall Street Journal. In 2014, he began focusing on long-term documentary and magazine feature work in California, the American Southwest and Mexico. 

I’ve had my own run ins with the law. A lot of the people I’m photographing now I see myself in them and I’m like, damn, you didn’t get out and I did.

Out of Bounds: Coming of Age in Gang Territory

Not all prisons have bars and walls.

The boys of Pine Grove serve their time in the Tahoe foothills surrounded by vast depths of imposing forest. Many heed from the central valley’s “gang corridors,” and have been doing hard time in Youth Authority facilities since they were 14 or 15. Most had never seen the woods, until it was used to incarcerate them.

But, there are many kinds of prisons, and as the boys of Pine Grove near their release dates, they often find themselves unprepared for a return to a world with danger around every corner. A world that never provided them with opportunity now actively seeks to re-incarcerate them. With scarlet letters, their names are printed, for life, on gang registries, ensuring harassment not only by patrol units, but also the gang units tasked with aggressively patrolling their neighborhoods.

Out of Bounds looks at targeted policing and criminalization of minority youth and asks, what kind of a society have we built, where a prison camp becomes a boy’s only experience of summer camp?

See the Impact


Explore how Brian Frank is helping formerly incarcerated youth find their visual voices and create new visions of justice.


Working Their Way Home From Prison
The Marshall Project | Brian L. Frank photographs young men in a California prison camp and on their journeys to freedom

Post-prison Homecomings
The California Sunday Magazine | The Way Home Issue

Youth in Prison Camp: Their Time in Photographer’s Lens
The San Francisco Chronicle | Art & Galleries

Scenes of Daily Life for the Inmates Fighting California's Wildfires
VICE | When they're not fighting the historic blazes, California prisoners are working on their GEDs, playing cards, and lifting weights