Ketchup With That?

Who Ordered
The Chicken?

It’s been 35 years this month since the reinstatement of the federal death penalty in the U.S., but if you’re not involved in the country’s criminal system, you wouldn’t give the fact much though. Photographer James Reynolds did. He decided to create and photograph replicas of meals inmates ordered in their last day on earth.
Some death-row residents got actually hungry on their day of reckoning. Some had your typical off-the-highway diner meal. And yet, some were very particular about what they wanted to eat. Given the pressing engagement waiting for them next door, it’s really far out that most would want to eat at all.
But some did it and enjoy it, right to their last cigarette, despite the advice on the contrary from the prison physician. Abstracting any consideration on why they were sent to death in the first place, it’s almost poignant that someone thought about memorializing their last supper.
That’s what Reynolds did. He researched the prisoners and their crimes, and recreated their last meals. After photographing the trays, he went as far as to eat some of the food. He hasn’t made up his mind about the death penalty itself yet, but he surely found a way to contextualize it.
Bon appetit.

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