Recently whilst the Ambientlife team were out shooting commercial work in California photographer Tim Wallace took some time out to shoot some personal work on the infamous Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz Island is located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco and is often referred to as “The Rock,” the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of Aboriginal Peoples from San Francisco who were part of a wave of Native activism across the nation with public protests through the 1970s. In 1972 Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
Today, the island’s facilities are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is home to the abandoned prison, the site of the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast of the United States.
Tim – “Alcatraz is probably best described as one of those places on earth that we all feel that we know having been featured so many time in films etc, however in my view it really is a place that you cant get the full story of until you actually stand within its walls and smell the scent of crumbling decay that has torn through the prison over the years. One of the first things that I noted personally was just how close the island was to the nearby city of San Francisco, to the point where from within the cells on the upper levels, that over look San Fran Prier 39, you can clearly hear the laughter of the people in the bars and restaurants there, something that I can only imagine would have been a further torture for any inmates who called these cells home. The prison is in quite a state of decay these days however it is still very possible to see the scars of time and events that have occurred on the island over the years such as the deep crack in the floor of the main hall as a result of grenades being used during one mass riot on the island by prisoners. Its an emotional journey that you take to walk through the prison and through the years that have seen so many moments of both human triumph, despair and hope. I hope that I managed to capture just some of these in the photography that I shot on the island on a day that I will not forget for a long time to come’.