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Crowdfunder: Finding Freedom: Poetry and Portraits of Former Inmates

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Campaign: Finding Freedom: Poetry and Portraits of Former Inmates

Finding Freedom is a collection of poetry & portraits from recently incarcerated individuals living at Chicago’s St. Leonard’s Halfway House.

Shortly after moving to Chicago, Brandon Crockett volunteered to teach a poetry class at St. Leonard’s Ministries, a halfway house and agency of Episcopal Charities and Community Services on Chicago’s near west side.

The agency serves individuals recently released from prison. In the seven years since, Brandon has collected hundreds of poems and now he will be sharing them with the public.

Since the early days of the class, Brandon’s goal was to publish the residents’ poetry in tandem with their individual portraits in a coffee table book entitled “Finding Freedom”.

The book would be used to raise funding and awareness for St. Leonard’s to better help individuals readjust into society upon being released from prison.

In January 2014, Brandon reached out to world-renowned Chicago photographer Sandro Miller (known most recently for his acclaimed John Malkovich portraits). Sandro enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity to work on the portraits. Over the next year, he photographed over 60 residents in five separate photo shoots.

Brandon and Sandro teamed up with some of Chicago’s top graphic designers to pair the portraits with the residents’ handwritten poetry to create a beautiful coffee table book to be printed by Blanchette Press.

This is a high-end art book in both content, design, printing and binding that will spark conversation, and stir new thought. As readers turn the pages, they will peek into the thoughts of those who rarely have a forum to share their voice and stare into the faces of individuals who often go unseen.

The campaign’s goal is $30,000 and ends on March 21.

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