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Old Jul 15, 2016, 7:55 AM   #1
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Default Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania closed in 1970. After over 20 years of deterioration not out of neglect but rather of waiting for ideas on how best to make use of the site, it was turned into a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It is one of those few attractions where tripods are allowed -- for a fee.

Before anyone questions why anyone would spend hard-earned money just to use a tripod, I think it would help if things are put in perspective.

To start with, admission price at Eastern State Penitentiary is already low at $14 per person (lower still for children and seniors). I suspect this is intentional so students can afford it as it's a popular destination for school field trips. Included in the admission among other things like art galleries and guided tours is an audio tour I found excellent via a provided mp3 player and headset narrated by none other than actor Steve Buscemi.

Now, for professional and aspiring professional photographers, I imagine they could tack on a hefty fee for tripod use and other equipment that only Hollywood studios can afford. (Eastern State Penitentiary has been used in several films and TV shows.) On top of that a "limited use" agreement that only lawyers can understand might need to be signed.

But no -- they charge only $10 for the use of tripods and that is valid not just for one visit but for the entire season. The only requirements (apart from the usual no touching, no smoking, no loud talking, etc.) are not to block pathways and make sure to mention "Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA" wherever the photos are used be it in print, on the web, in broadcast, and on any other public medium.

And, oh yes, they'd appreciate it if you can leave a glowing review on travel boards like tripadvisor.com.

I think that is very generous photography policy considering many places restrict the use of their photos to non-commercial only. I could not, for example, upload images of lavish hotel rooms I stayed at or grand ballrooms I dined in on my website that also showcases my, ahem, photo processing prowess. But as I understand it, with ESP, I can, so long as I credit them.

I also suspect that whoever convinced the State of Pennsylvania to convert the prison into a "preserved ruins" museum, instead of, say, a mall or "luxury apartment complex" as was originally planned, had a deep love for photography and art (as evidenced by the art galleries there) and wanted everyone like him or her -- not just Hollywood -- to partake in the passion and capture images of Eastern State Penitentiary to their heartís desire.

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Old Jul 15, 2016, 4:38 PM   #2
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A very impressive series, lots of peeling paint darkness and gloom, now only inhabited by ghost inmates. well done
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Old Oct 10, 2016, 8:48 PM   #3
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i just went here yesterday so many cool spots in the prison
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Old Oct 10, 2016, 11:06 PM   #4
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I would love to shoot this place. But then Billy has done such a great job, it might be just as well to just sit and look at his work.
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Old Oct 11, 2016, 6:48 AM   #5
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Great photos.

In many ways they are remindful of an old dilapidated monastery.

Religion and prisons ..... hummmm ..........
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Old Oct 11, 2016, 10:44 PM   #6
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The original intent of a penitentiary was to allow the criminal to reflect on his ways and come to an understanding of why he was on the wrong path.

We went at it all wrong, I think.
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