Publisher Note

Assignment No. 2 is a visual document inspired by the writing of Michael Nelson, an inmate serving a twenty-five to life sentence in San Quentin Prison. Written while in solitary confinement in 2011 in response to a request to evaluate two photographs, the essay finds voice through the images of artists Hiroshi Sugimoto and Richard Misrach to create an eloquently piercing contemplation on the experience and mindset of an American inmate.

The project’s origins lie in the Prison University Project, a non-profit organization that provides inmates at San Quentin an opportunity to earn an AA degree. The title is derived from the second written response prompt in Visual Concerns in Photography, a class led by artists and professors Doug Dertinger and Nigel Poor.

Meticulously reproduced from the legal pad the essay was drafted on, each folio is uniquely hand stamped with title and date. The folio’s dynamic writing and imagery is paired with an equally sculptural physicality to create a sensory and tactile experience that is unlike anything produced by TBW Books to date.

“The darkness of the theatre sets the mood; the illuminated screen playing the role of a mouth whose light screams out to be heard, to be seen; the EXIT signs…reminders of where all the absent characters have gone.”

– Michael Nelson, excerpt from Assignment No. 2


Assignment No.2

— San Quentin Prison

by Richard Misrach, Hiroshi Sugimoto

Release Place United States of America
Edition 1st edition
Release Date 2014
Writer: Michael Nelson
ISBN-13: 978-1-942953-21-0
Subform Dossier
Topics Prigione, Prison
Methods Photography, Writing
Language English
Format softcover
Dimensions 24.2 × 30.6 cm
Pages 20