Photographs from Miracle Village, A Florida Town for Sex Offenders

Photographs from Miracle Village, A Florida Town for Sex Offenders July 14, 2015

The Guardian writes:

…Sofia Valiente, a quietly spoken 24-year-old photographer who lives one hour’s drive from Miracle Village, came upon the community when she was photographing the small towns of south Florida. Intrigued, she started visiting the community and, having gained their trust, began documenting this enclosed world in portraits, landscapes and still lives. She even lived there for a time during the three months it took her to complete the project that has now become an intriguing photobook. “People, including the residents, were often shocked I had this interest in them,” says Valiente, who is in London for the opening of a show of her work at Daniel Blau gallery. “But it is just too easy to label them as monsters and then not have to deal with them at all.”

Comprising her tenderly observed pictures and often painful first-person testimonies, Miracle Village is a beautifully made book about a taboo subject. In one image, a man hides his face under his T-shirt; in another, an older resident sits alone in his room, the outline of his GPS ankle bracelet visible under his sock, his surroundings as spartan as a hospital room. Valiente also includes found photographs – one man posing with two youths, possibly his sons, their faces covered – and ephemera – censored letters, personal belongings, religious icons. The end result is considered, and the sense of isolation is palpable throughout.

more; and there’s an understandable but poignant note at the end about who is excluded even from this community.

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