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The last meal

A ribeye steak and baked potato was requested by prisoner Oscar Ray Bollin Jr (Picture: AYearOfKilling.com)

In pictures: Photographer recreates death row prisoners' last meals before they were executed

Ross McGuinness

A photographer has recreated death row prisoners’ last meals before they were executed for a new picture collection.

A Year of Killing was compiled by Henry Hargreaves and depicts what prisoners – all of whom were executed in the US in 2016 – had to eat before they died.

For his online exhibition, Mr Hargreaves recreated inmates’ meals then photographed them from above.

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The collection is a follow-up to his previous 2011 work, No Seconds, which chronicled the meals of death row prisoners over 40 years.

However, in his latest exhibition, all of the inmates included died this year.

Mr Hargreaves, 37, who is from New Zealand but lives in Brooklyn, New York, used prison records to recreate the meals, which range from pizza to steak and tacos to peanut butter cups.

In some cases, a prisoner will not make a special meal request, and simply eat whatever the facility serves up.

The collection details the last meal, as well as the name and age of the prisoner, the length of time they were on death row and the method used to kill them.

More than 1,400 inmates have been executed so far in 2016.

“I wanted to highlight the frequency of the killings and how long prisoners spend on death row before being executed,” Mr Hargreaves told Yahoo News UK.

"The last meal to me is such a surreal ritual, we are going to kill you but lets do something nice for you first…"

"I think food is a window into someone's mind. I don’t want to tell people what to think but for me understanding someone's food choices allows me to connect with them in a personal way.

"I just hope it makes people realise that this practice is a ‘normal’ part of the US justice system.

"It is not something that is reserved for just the most extreme circumstances but is practiced with such regularity that the media has almost become numb to reporting on it.”

 

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