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Taryn Simon

The Innocents

June 11–July 31, 2004
Heddon Street, London

Taryn Simon, Troy Webb; Scene of the crime, The Pines, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Served 7 years of a 47-year sentence for Kidnapping, Rape, and Robbery, from the series The Innocents, 2002 Chromogenic print, 31 × 40 inches (78.7 × 101.6 cm) or 48 × 62 inches (121.9 × 157.5 cm), both edition of 5 + 2 AP© Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon, Troy Webb; Scene of the crime, The Pines, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Served 7 years of a 47-year sentence for Kidnapping, Rape, and Robbery, from the series The Innocents, 2002

Chromogenic print, 31 × 40 inches (78.7 × 101.6 cm) or 48 × 62 inches (121.9 × 157.5 cm), both edition of 5 + 2 AP
© Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon, William Gregory; Wick's Parlor, Louisville, Kentucky; With fiancée Vicki Kidwell, whom he dated prior to conviction; Gregory was pool champion in prison; Served 7 years of a 70-year sentence for Rape and Burglary, from the series The Innocents, 2002 Chromogenic print, 31 × 40 inches (78.7 × 101.6 cm) or 48 × 62 inches (121.9 × 157.5 cm), both edition of 5 + 2 AP© Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon, William Gregory; Wick's Parlor, Louisville, Kentucky; With fiancée Vicki Kidwell, whom he dated prior to conviction; Gregory was pool champion in prison; Served 7 years of a 70-year sentence for Rape and Burglary, from the series The Innocents, 2002

Chromogenic print, 31 × 40 inches (78.7 × 101.6 cm) or 48 × 62 inches (121.9 × 157.5 cm), both edition of 5 + 2 AP
© Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon, Larry Mayes; Scene of arrest, The Royal Inn, Gary, Indiana; Police found Mayes hiding beneath a mattress in this room; Served 18.5 years of an 80-year sentence for Rape, Robbery, and Unlawful Deviate Conduct, from the series The Innocents, 2002 Chromogenic print, 31 × 40 inches (78.7 × 101.6 cm) or 48 × 62 inches (121.9 × 157.5 cm), both edition of 5 + 2 AP© Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon, Larry Mayes; Scene of arrest, The Royal Inn, Gary, Indiana; Police found Mayes hiding beneath a mattress in this room; Served 18.5 years of an 80-year sentence for Rape, Robbery, and Unlawful Deviate Conduct, from the series The Innocents, 2002

Chromogenic print, 31 × 40 inches (78.7 × 101.6 cm) or 48 × 62 inches (121.9 × 157.5 cm), both edition of 5 + 2 AP
© Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon, Ron Williamson; Baseball field, Norman, Oklahoma; Williamson had been drafted by the Oakland Athletics before being sentenced to death; Served 11 years of a Death sentence for First Degree Murder, from the series The Innocents, 2002 Chromogenic print, 31 × 40 inches (78.7 × 101.6 cm) or 48 × 62 inches (121.9 × 157.5 cm), both edition of 5 + 2 AP© Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon, Ron Williamson; Baseball field, Norman, Oklahoma; Williamson had been drafted by the Oakland Athletics before being sentenced to death; Served 11 years of a Death sentence for First Degree Murder, from the series The Innocents, 2002

Chromogenic print, 31 × 40 inches (78.7 × 101.6 cm) or 48 × 62 inches (121.9 × 157.5 cm), both edition of 5 + 2 AP
© Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon, Charles Irvin Fain; Scene of the crime, the Snake River, Melba, Idaho; Served 18 years of a Death sentence for Kidnapping, Rape, and Murder, from the series The Innocents, 2002 Chromogenic print, 31 × 40 inches (78.7 × 101.6 cm) or 48 × 62 inches (121.9 × 157.5 cm), both edition of 5 + 2 AP© Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon, Charles Irvin Fain; Scene of the crime, the Snake River, Melba, Idaho; Served 18 years of a Death sentence for Kidnapping, Rape, and Murder, from the series The Innocents, 2002

Chromogenic print, 31 × 40 inches (78.7 × 101.6 cm) or 48 × 62 inches (121.9 × 157.5 cm), both edition of 5 + 2 AP
© Taryn Simon

About

Opening reception for the artist: Thursday, June 10th 6 � 8pm Gagosian Gallery, London is pleased to present The Innocents, a recent photographic project by the American artist Taryn Simon. The Innocents documents the stories of individuals who served time in prison for violent crimes they did not commit. At issue is the question of photography's function as a credible eyewitness and arbiter of justice. The primary cause of wrongful conviction is mistaken identification. A victim or eyewitness identifies a suspected perpetrator through law enforcement's use of photographs and lineups. This procedure relies on the assumption of precise visual memory. But, through exposure to composite sketches, mugshots, Polaroids, and lineups, eyewitness memory can change. In the history of these cases, photography offered the criminal justice system a tool that transformed innocent citizens into criminals. Photographs assisted officers in obtaining eyewitness identifications and aided prosecutors in securing convictions. Simon photographed these men at sites that had particular significance to their illegitimate conviction: the scene of misidentification, the scene of arrest, the scene of the crime or the scene of the alibi. All of these locations hold contradictory meanings for the subjects. The scene of arrest marks the starting point of a reality based in fiction. The scene of the crime is at once arbitrary and crucial: this place, to which they have never been, changed their lives forever. In these photographs Simon confronts photography's ability to blur truth and fiction-an ambiguity that can have severe, even lethal consequences. Taryn Simon lives and works in New York. The Innocents has been exhibited in 2003 at PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York and at Kunstwerke, Berlin. Simon was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Photography. The Innocents, Simon's first book, was published in the spring of 2003 by Umbrage Editions. Her photography and writing has been featured in numerous publications and broadcasts, including The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Frontline, CNN and BBC. Taryn Simon: The Innocents will be showing concurrently at Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills.