East Hampton, NY
Simon’s earliest body of work, The Innocents (2002), documents the stories of individuals who served time in prison for violent crimes they did not commit. At issue is the question of photography’s function as a credible eyewitness and arbiter of justice. Simon photographed these men at sites that had particular significance to their illegitimate conviction: the scene of misidentification, the scene of arrest, the scene of the crime, or the scene of the alibi. All of these locations hold contradictory meanings for the subjects. The scene of arrest marks the starting point of a reality based in fiction. The scene of the crime is at once arbitrary and crucial: this place, to which they have never been, changed their lives forever. In these photographs Simon confronts photography’s ability to blur truth and fiction—an ambiguity that can have severe, even lethal, consequences.