Can you say “Cheese”?

Helping kid reach the fresh milk at the Prison Goat Dairy.

That’s one phrase I never use when photographing someone. Never. But it’s a word I sure value in it’s original context.

Bottle feeding a kid.

These photographs were taken on assignment for “Culture” the internationally acclaimed magazine devoted to… yep… Cheese! Art Director/Designer Carol Bobolts of Red Herring Design and I had several conversations about the way to approach this story.

The cow dairy is across the street from this medium security facility. Inmate walking to work pulling the cooler containing the work shift’s lunches.

Feeding the goats. Cloud bank diffuses the early morning light producing this silhouette of hay leaving the pitch fork.

Did I mention that I’d be going to Prison for this gig?

A strong bond between these men and the animals was apparent. Using only the early morning light coming in thru the windows, I moved thru the pens quietly, capturing moments like this one.

Herding the next group of goats into the milking barn.

Scene setting image showing one of the corrals and landscape at the prison complex.

The Colorado prison complex near Canon City, CO has three dairies on site: Goat, Cow, and Water Buffalo. Inmates operate these with multiple positive outcomes. First, the milk from the cow dairy supplies the entire statewide prison system, the milk from the goat and water buffalo are outsourced. More importantly, the inmates are often profoundly changed by this work experience, giving them skills to use upon their release. Carol hired me to tell this story as a photo essay to be published in black and white. I’ve always loved B&W imagery. Perfect for telling stories with the camera.

Culture Magazine cover with this photo essay inside.

Hooking a milking machine to one of the goats in the milking barn.

You can imagine my surprise when the magazine hit the newsstands: 8 pages devoted to the story using 18 photographs. Wow! Visit the Culture website to see the online photo gallery.

  • SUMMER VACATION | - […] in their fabulous LoDo office. Barry Staver, my photographer, had an impressive portfolio, but his photo essay on prisoners and goats really clinched the decision to hire […]

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