Convicts Write Letters To Their Past Selves. You Have To See What They Wrote

February 28, 2014

The Reflect Project, by Trent Bell, is a photography project that merges large-scale portraits of inmates in the Maine prison system with handwritten letters the convicts composed as if writing to a younger self.

This project makes you think about just how easy it might be to make one wrong chose that will change your life forever.

"The idea came up as I recently had a friend, a husband and father, an educated professional, go to prison for possibly 36 years. This friend was the same person as me, we had the same morals, the same interests, what happened? Now, every time its quiet, every time my mind starts to collate recent moments, valuable experiences and memories, every time my son looks up and smiles at me, the finality and the loss of my friends "free life" comes into my head and I hear a voice '…there, but for the grace of God, go I…'" ~ Trent Bell

"Just know that people will always try and test you, and no matter what you think, only a real man can walk away."

convicts write letters
Photo: © Trent Bell / TrentBell.com

"If you think something might be a bad idea, believe it! Don’t do it."

convicts write letters
Photo: © Trent Bell / TrentBell.com

"Never lose the person you really are because it may be too late by the time you find yourself again."

convicts write letters
Photo: © Trent Bell / TrentBell.com

"You must be willing to forgive those that ask or deserve for forgiveness in order to be forgiven yourself."

convicts write letters
Photo: © Trent Bell / TrentBell.com

"I have spent most of my life behind bars and you are worth much more than that."

convicts write letters
Photo: © Trent Bell / TrentBell.com

"Life is far from over, Jamie. The mistakes we made in the past are the mistakes we will learn from."

convicts write letters
Photo: © Trent Bell / TrentBell.com

"We let drinking and drugs shatter our dreams and our potential future."

convicts write letters
Photo: © Trent Bell / TrentBell.com

"Be quick to smile, slow to anger, and treat all people with respect they deserve. That is how you will avoid becoming me."

convicts write letters
Photo: © Trent Bell / TrentBell.com

"Every decision you make affects everyone around you, most importantly your own future."

convicts write letters
Photo: © Trent Bell / TrentBell.com

"I believe in you, so many people do, you just have to believe in yourself."

convicts write letters
Photo: © Trent Bell / TrentBell.com

Please visit Trent Bell's portfolio to see more of his amazing work. He's also on Facebook and Twitter.

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