In 2009, I began a written correspondence with several men scattered throughout the country serving death row sentences for what became an extensive project that looked into capital punishment and solitary confinement in the U.S.  

While letters were exchanged between many of them for years, it was only within the first three months that the first man I wrote with was executed. He was in the state of Texas.  I went online to search for more information the day of his execution and landed myself on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) website and the executions archive. 

It was with that information that I catapulted into Parting Words, a visual archive of the 500+ prisoners to date executed in the state of Texas.  This is just a small selection of the archive.

See the Huffington Post feature: HERE

"As any intelligent artist does, Elkins appropriates and reframes state knowledge, turning the logic of a “flawed and barbaric” system in against itself.." - Pete Brook, Prison Photography 

“These results are startling abstract and brutally specific. The full meaning of these utterances, which vary from concise confessions to literally, “none” are as opaque and compelling as their faces.  Elkins’ project is ambitious in reach, innovative in approach and compelling in its results.. ”  - Doug Dubois, American photographer and 2012 Guggenheim recipient.

"These briefest of statements resonate with the micro-narratives of entire lives, tragic crimes, and opportunities and potential squandered.  The formal framework that Elkins has adopted underscores the depersonalization of incarceration and the systems sustaining capital punishment. It also heightens the sense of terrifying yet relatable banality contained within these images, an eerie recognition and identification with the human form evoked from otherwise raw, impersonal images of individuals who found themselves on the furthest ends of the spectrum of human feeling." - Leslie A. Martin, Aperture Foundation