CatchLight Celebrates Opening of Visions of Justice at San Francisco DA's Office

Workshop student Eugene Riley speaks during the opening reception of Visions of Justice alongside San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón at the Hall of Justice.

Workshop student Eugene Riley speaks during the opening reception of Visions of Justice alongside San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón at the Hall of Justice.

On February 12, 2019, CatchLight proudly presented Visions of Justice, a groundbreaking new exhibition at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. The opening reception drew one of the largest event turnouts in the space to date. Beyond the exhibition, the event celebrated the transformational journeys of the photographers from incarceration to having their images presented at the Hall of Justice, as well as featured in national media outlets.

Remarks were made by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, Willie Brown Institute Director of Special Projects, Susan Brown, and CatchLight CEO Elodie Mailliet Storm.  

The kind of work we’re doing here today is really important, taking the Hall of Justice, a place that traditionally would not be associated with bringing the art from youth that were formerly incarcerated and sharing their thoughts and sharing their expression and providing them with a platform to show their vision of the world.
— San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón shares remarks during the opening reception of Visions of Justice at the Hall of Justice. “This is work that is very important to our office and very important to many of us. It’s easy to separate yourself from people until you get to know them and until you walk a little bit in their shoes.”

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón shares remarks during the opening reception of Visions of Justice at the Hall of Justice. “This is work that is very important to our office and very important to many of us. It’s easy to separate yourself from people until you get to know them and until you walk a little bit in their shoes.”

2017 CatchLight Fellow Brian L. Frank, and Visions of Justice workshop participant Eugene Riley also shared their personal experiences, articulating the significance of showing their work in a space central to the criminal justice system in San Francisco.

Having these photographs on the walls of this building is a radical act in its own right;  it shows that things can change. This has been one of the highlights of my career.
— 2017 CL Fellow Brian L. Frank
Local community members, artists and government workers gather to hear more about the Visions of Justice Exhibition during the first ever storytelling event at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco.

Local community members, artists and government workers gather to hear more about the Visions of Justice Exhibition during the first ever storytelling event at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco.

The exhibition has already begun sparking meaningful dialogue around youth incarceration between key stakeholders within the criminal justice system.

During the installation process passer bys would often stop and ask questions or share their own feelings about the work, some recognized a location close to where they live, others noted that the person in a particular photograph reminded them of a family member, a friend, or themselves. Each image prompted a new interaction, connection and story.
— Exhibition Curator Jenny Jacklin Stratton

The public is invited to continue to share their own visions of justice in the response book located on the exhibition wall or online using the hashtag #VisionsofJustice.

All exhibition photos by Sarabeth Maney

About the Exhibition:

In August 2018, CatchLight teamed up with Project Rebound, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to facilitate a photojournalism workshop for formerly incarcerated youth at San Francisco State University. Their resulting work, featured in this exhibition, explores personal stories and visions of justice using photography. Following the workshop, several students have embarked on professional photojournalism assignments with their work being published in media outlets including Vice News.

Also presented in this exhibition is a selection of photographs by Brian L. Frank, whose fellowship work takes a close, hard look at a slice in time at Pine Grove —California’s first and only remaining rehabilitative prison camp for offenders sentenced as teens—documenting the daily lives and work of young men at Pine Grove, as well as the experiences of those released back into their communities.

Visions of Justice is currently on view from February 12, 2019 to April 1, 2019 at the San Francisco District Attorney Office Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Visions of Justice is produced by CatchLight in partnership with the SF District Attorney’s Office and curated by Jenny Jacklin Stratton. Exhibiting photographers include 2017 CatchLight Fellow Brian L. Frank, and Visions of Justice workshop students: Jeremy Castro, Jerry Leonor, Jesus Rios, Eugene Riley, Christopher Shurn, and Jenna Tomsky

Acknowledgements:

The Visions of Justice workshop and exhibition is generously supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the District Attorney’s Office of San Francisco, and the Willie Brown Institute, in partnership with CatchLight, Project Rebound, and students from the SFSU Department of Journalism . The workshop's instructional team was led by Brian L. Frank, Justin Maxon, and Jenny Jacklin Stratton.

Thank you to San Francisco District Attorney GeorgeGascón, Mayor Willie Brown, Susan Brown,and Marisa Rodriguez,as well asThe Marshall Project, California Sunday Magazine, and VICE News for supporting this work.