Spencer Goes To Jail – Punta Gorda, Florida

It finally happened. I managed to land myself in jail on my recent photography class field trip. It was unexpected, but most things in life are. Being a photographer, I could care less about the charges, I wanted to make sure the mug shot was lit properly; the DMV photos are bad enough!

One of my students managed to get a photo of me before I headed out to start my sentence. Here is the last photo that anyone will probably ever see of me….

 spencer goes to jail at the history park in punta gorda floridaSpencer goes to jail – Debbie Bowe © 2012

As you can see from the photo, it was a nice cool, comfortable day. Ya, right! It was in the 90’s and tropical storm Debbie just finished making our life interesting so it was a little humid to say the least. OK, so what really happened here? On our photo field trip, we went over to the History Park in Punta Gorda, Florida. While we were touring the property, we came upon an old holding cell from the late 1800’s. One of my students worked with the sheriffs department so she has some insight on what this might be and the time period that it was used. Here is what she found.

The name plate was for E. T. Barnum, the maker of iron works and portable jail cells.  The cell we saw was made around 1890 and was probably used as a holding cell when Punta Gorda was part of DeSoto County and then as the jail when Charlotte became a separate county before they built something more permanent. It was refurbished a few years ago by Cicanese Metal works for the history park.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, it seems as if I’m the model for most of these classes. However, this is a good thing. The first reason is that it reminds you what your subject feels like on the other side of the camera. This is why having a great rapport with your subject will show in your photos. The second and more important reason is that I wouldn’t ask any of my students or subjects to do anything that I would personally do. Being a photographer means that you can’t be wrapped to tight all of the time. During the shoot, one of my students asked me to make a “pain face”. I’m not actor but I gave it my best shot. I have yet to see how that one came out.

I appreciate Debbie taking this and sending it over so I could share this with you. It’s not too often that I get my photo taken behind bars. I’m glad that I’m friends with a few of police folks just in case.

I’m working on some new ideas and topics for the blog so check back and often. I appreciate you taking the time to visit. Have a great one…

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


  1. Sometimes a some history helps with the photo and in this case “justice was served.”

    • That was supposed to read … sometimes a little history helps with the photo ….

  2. Hang in there, Spencer. I’m in the process of baking a cake with a file in it. It’s my first time; so just hang in there.

  3. Cute!!!!!

  4. Spencer..the next time I see you,I would like for you to show me how you do the stockade shuffle…

  5. Spencer

    I appreciate everyone’s concern. I received Curry’s cake today and found the file. I knew I was in trouble when all of the prisoners had name badges on. My cellmate’s sticker read, “Hello, my name is BUBBA!” Glad I was able to file my way out rather quickly!


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