Assignment No. 2 is a visual document inspired by the writing of Michael Nelson, an inmate serving a 25 to life sentence in San Quentin Prison. Written while in solitary confinement in 2011 in response to a request to evaluate two photographs, the essay finds voice through the images of artists Hiroshi Sugimoto and Richard Misrach to create an eloquently piercing contemplation on the experience and mindset of an American inmate.
The project’s origins lie in the Prison University Project, a non-profit organization that provides inmates at San Quentin an opportunity to earn an AA degree. The title is derived from the second written response prompt in Visual Concerns in Photography, a class led by artists and professors Doug Dertinger and Nigel Poor.