REFLECT Panel Discussion

Citizens' Singular Role in Justice

Find us Here

Mission Chattanooga
806 E 12th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403


Thursday, October 12, 2023
5:00 PM - Open
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Panel Discussion

REFLECT is a subject-artist collaborative project of acclaimed architectural photographer Trent Bell that spotlights people who have gone through life changing experiences. Visit the Gallery at Mission Chattanooga through October 23 to explore Trent's evocative large-scale portraits of people in prison with letters to their younger selves in the background.  #2XChances #REFLECT #YoungerSelf

REFLECT Panel Discussion

Join us for a compelling panel discussion featuring acclaimed architectural photographer Trent Bell and esteemed collaborator Brandon Brown. Dive deep into their evocative docu-art project, REFLECT: Convicts’ Letters to Their Younger Selves, and uncover how this encounter invited them to reevaluate the weight of their personal choices and how others accompany us on our individual journeys.

Origin of REFLECT

Upon hearing the startling news that a friend – a well-educated professional, husband, and father of four – had been sentenced to thirty-six years in prison, acclaimed architectural photographer Trent Bell was deeply shaken. In the months that followed, Bell grappled not only with the ramifications of his friend’s choices and the profound loss of freedom, but also with personal reflections on moments in his own past that teetered on the edge of comparable misjudgments.

“There were instances when my son would gaze up, offering a warm smile,” Bell shares, “and the weight of my friend’s irreversible fate would wash over me, evoking a stark realization: there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

Renowned for his architectural imagery in esteemed publications like Conde Nast Traveler, Design New England, and The New York Times, Bell soon envisioned a photographic project. This endeavor aimed to seamlessly blend large-scale portraits of inmates within the Maine prison system with their heartfelt, handwritten letters, as if addressing their younger selves.

“Our missteps can result in immeasurable loss, profound remorse, and lingering regret,” reflects Bell. “However, the silver lining of these mistakes becomes palpable when we confront them, accept responsibility, extract lessons, and summon the courage to share our stories.”

REFLECT stands as a poignant testament to the nexus of choices, repercussions, and introspection. Complementing Bell’s evocative portraits are video contributions by Joe Carter and a series on prison guards captured by Corey Desrochers.

To delve deeper into this profound journey of redemption and reflection, please visit and stop by The Gallery at Mission Chattanooga. 

Trent Bell

Trent Bell is an award-winning architecture and interior photographer based in New England. He specializes in photographing high-end residential and commercial spaces around the world, approaching each project with a depth of design knowledge and aesthetic intuition. His style leans towards visual calmness, allowing the design to speak through composition, light, and the relationship of subjects within the frame.

For the purposes of our panel discussion, Trent is the creator of REFLECT, a subject-photographer collaborative docu-art project focusing on individuals who have gone through life changing experiences.

Brandon Brown

Three years ago, Brandon Brown became the first person to earn a graduate degree while incarcerated in the state of Maine. Now Brown — who was arrested in 2010 for attempted murder when he was 21 — is pursuing a Ph.D. in restorative justice from George Mason University, in Virginia.

Brown was the first person to take advantage of a department of corrections policy that allowed supervised virtual learning when he enrolled in an online master's program. Now, halfway through the second semester of his doctoral program, he’s been released on a community confinement program thanks to legislation that he helped author.

Get a taste of what’s in store from this audio clip on the sights, tastes, touch, smells, and sounds of prison life! The complete episode can be found at Ear Hustle.