Zora Murff attends the University of Iowa where he is pursuing a BFA in Photography. Zora has a background in social services and has a deep interest in documentary photography. His work has been featured online on Wired Magazine’s Raw File, Feature Shoot, Onward Forward, and Prison Photography. Zora has been invited to be a part of the Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, featuring work from his series Corrections.
Linn County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Services were established to provide monitoring and rehabilitation services to youths while they are on probation. I have spent the last year working in one of the diversion programs, and this project is a product of a conversation I had with a youth regarding his electronic ankle monitor: “I want this thing off today… this fucking thing is giving me blisters, is an invasion of privacy, and goes against my well being.”
He was angry, and at the time of the conversation I understood that at a very basal level he was angry because he felt that I was attempting to exert some sort of control over his life, and I was right to a point. The more I thought about this anger, however, the more I pondered the concepts of privacy and control in the juvenile corrections system and the role that I played when it comes to them. I interact with these youths at a critical point in their lives where control is an integral part of the day-to-day. My job is to be a consequence, to insert myself into the lives in an attempt to control and correct adolescent malfeasance, while the adolescents themselves are struggling with exerting control over their development into who they will be as adults.
Photographing these individuals is an appraisal of their experiences in the juvenile corrections system; an attempt to access the crux of how the system aims to work towards providing a sense of empowerment through these broader concepts of privacy, control, development, and ultimately rehabilitation to instill a true sense of correction.
To view more of Zora’s work please visit his website.