In the REFLECT Project, Maine inmates write letters to their younger selves

In the REFLECT Project, Maine inmates write letters to their younger selves


Trent Bell is a commercial photographer best known for his architectural photography. His work has been published in a number of prestigious publications such as the New York Times, Design New England, and Conde Nast Traveler.

“Our bad choices can contain untold loss, remorse, and regret…but the positive value of these bad choices might be immeasurable if we can face them, admit to them, learn from them and find the strength to share.”

However, in early 2013 a friend of Bell’s was sentenced to 36 years in prison. He was a husband, a father, an educated professional, and after the sentencing Bell was haunted by how easily one’s life can take a turn for the worst. Bell recalls times when his son would look up and smile to him, and Bell would reflect on the finality of his friend’s situation.

With all these thoughts and reflections in his head Trent Bell created the RELFECT project. In this inspiring and touching photoset Bell merges large-scale portraits of inmates in the Maine prison system with handwritten letters to their younger, past selves.

We’ve all made mistakes and we’ve all got regrets, but few of us have regrets on this scale. We are human after all, and to err is human.  Click through the rest of the photos Trent Bell made in the gallery below, and you can check out a ‘behind the scenes’ video here.  

To learn more about the inmates featured in this project, their stories and their thoughts, check out the video made by Joe Carter I’ve embedded below!

Photographs by Trent Bell and used with permission.  Learn more about Trent Bell here. Learn more about the REFLECT Project here.

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