Abandoned Prison in Lorton, VA

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The following photos were taken at the Lorton Prison in Lorton, VA.  Lorton Prison is about twenty
miles southwest of Washington, DC.  It was great to have the opportunity to photograph there.  
One of my Meetup groups got special permission to gain access to the site.  It will be soon be

Lorton was the main jail serving the Washington area from 1910 until its closure in 2001.

Having started out as a workhouse in 1910, it was relaunched in 1916 as the Lorton Correctional
Complex.  The facility housed some of the DC area’s most famous miscreants, including Chuck
Brown, the so-called “Godfather of Go-Go”, who spent eight years in Lorton in the 1950s following
a conviction for murder.

Today, Lorton is little more than a rotting, empty shell. A mix of empty dormitories littered with
metal beds, once the home of minimum-security prisoners, and lines of jail cells in the penitentiary,
their doors left open, as I imagine they were when the last prisoners left.

Electricity was shut off years ago, so now the place is a lair of light and shadow. Dazzlingly bright
light illuminates the public areas, with vast windows spilling bright light on to the concrete floors,
while other areas, such the power plant, are deep wells of bottomless shadow.

The deep, brooding shadows, combined with the repeating lines of prison cell doors and barred
windows, made for fascinating image-making opportunities.


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