FotoFest Home
Gift Abdulaziz al-Swidi's attorneys purchased for his mother at his request; translation: "Don't despair, someone in the sky is taking care." Courtesy of Collection of Through the Walls/Margot Herster ©2007.

Exhibit Brings Detainees' 'Pictures from Home'
by Wade Goodwyn 

Truth Comes a Bit Closer
by Emily DePrang

Detainees: Putting faces to the story
by Carol Rosenberg

Breakdown in the Gray Room - David Levi Strauss
The Progressive Forum

A FotoFest Exhibition Questions Justice
by Kelly Klaasmeyer

March 31 - June 2, 2007
Exhibition Extended

Exhibition by Margot Herster

Audio and video installations by Carolyn Mara Borlenghi and Margot Herster
Curated by Wendy Watriss, FotoFest

FotoFest Headquarters
at Vine Street Studio
Gallery Hours: Mon - Fri, 10am - 5pm,
Sat, noon - 5pm


Guantánamo. Pictures From Home. Questions of Justice
, is a rare glimpse inside the life of the prison, the men who are detainees, and the U.S. lawyers who represent them.

 The exhibition presents nearly 100 previously unseen photographs and video vignettes gathered by Project Creator and Artist Margot Herster. These photographs portray detainees from Yemen, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain, and are accompanied by narrative from their lawyers. Alongside the photographs, there is an audio installation, Inside Guantánamo, with sounds and stories detailing life inside one of the most controversial U.S. prisons. In a video by Ms. Herster and Carolyn Mara Borlenghi, The Lawyers, six Guantánamo attorneys candidly describe their experiences and interactions with detainees.

Attorneys began visiting detainees and their families in 2004 after the Supreme Court held that the prisoners of Guantánamo were entitled to file cases challenging their detention.  On February 20, 2007 the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed these cases. This decision could once again shut the door to Guantánamo, where many of the remaining 387 men have spent nearly five years in confinement.

 “One of the greatest concerns the lawyers have now is that the degree of transparency they brought to Guantánamo could be taken away,” says Scott Sullivan, detainee attorney and professor at the University of Texas Law School.  Pictures from Home presents what could be these lawyers’ final words and images portraying the detainee population and the realities of imprisonment at Guantánamo.

The photographs in this exhibition were a means of communicating with detainee-clients.  In working with the detainees, lawyers discovered that visual images were an essential tool in creating dialogue. The lawyers visited detainees’ families abroad and photographed homes, family members, personal belongings, old snapshots, neighborhoods and friends. Showing these images to the detainees became essential to building attorney-client relationships.

The exhibition portrays 33 detainees, where they come from, and their experiences in Guantánamo. One of the detainees is Fawzi Al Odah, the named plaintiff in the February 2007 Circuit Court of Appeals decision.

Guantánamo in the News
Court Asked to Limit Lawyers at Guantánamo
NY TIMES 04/26/07
After the Lawyers - EDITORIAL
NY TIMES 04/27/07
Habeas Schmabeas 2007

>> Project Creator's Statement

>> Curator's Statement

>> Press Release




Project Creator and Artist Margot Herster (l.) talks to guests at the exhibition opening March 31, 2007.

Featured attorneys Douglas Cox and Sarah Havens (l.), from the New York office of Allen & Overy, spoke Sunday April 1 at the exhibit with Project Creator Margot Herster and Video Artist Carolyn Mara Borlenghi.

Pro bono habeas consul Anant Raut (l.), from the Washington D.C. office of Weil Gotshall & Manges LLP, and West Point constitutional law professor Lt. Col. Mark A. Bridges spoke April 11 on detainee rights and the history of military commissions from the Mexican-American war to the present.

David Levi Strauss (l.), the nationally acclaimed writer and speaker on art and politics, gave a visual presentation on the images from Abu Ghraib and their historical associations with pornography and torture.


Civil Liberties and Guantánamo
Thursday, May 24, 6pm-7:30pm
with Dr. Jordan Paust and Scott Sullivan
Location: United Way, 50 Waugh Drive (at Feagan), rooms G & H

>> More Information

Dr. Jordan Paust is a leading writer, speaker and professor on international law, human rights, military commissions and terrorism on the faculty of the University of Houston Law Center and Ford Foundation Fellow at Yale University.  He has chaired the Committee on International Law and the Use of Force of the American Bar Association among many other national organizations relating to international law, international criminal law and human rights..

Scott Sullivan, an Assistant Professor in the Emerging Scholars Program at the University of Texas Law School  is an expert on foreign relations law and international law and teaches a seminar on International Law & U.S. Courts. Also with the international law firm of Allen & Overy, he has been extensively involved with representation of detainees at Guantánamo.

Last Chance Exhibit Tour
, June 2, 2007, 2pm
with Artist and Project Creator Margot Herster and Guantanamo attorney Scott Sullivan

Location: FotoFest, 1113 Vine Street


Foreman, DeGeurin, and Nugent
Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP
Robertson & Anschutz, P.C.
John Roberson and John Blackmon
Melanie Gray and Mark L. D. Wawro
Heard, Robins, Cloud & Lubel LLP
Davis Cedillo & Mendoza, Inc. - Ricardo G. Cedillo
Cathy and Giorgio Borlenghi
Daniel Wolf, George Wolf Memorial Trust
Houston Arts Alliance
Margaret Regan and Fletcher-Thorne Thomsen, Jr.

Caddell and Chapman
David and Kathrine Miller
Marion and Benjamin Wilcox
University of Houston Downtown
James and Carolyn Robertson
Katherine and Clark Martin
William and Rosalie Hitchcock
Collyn Peddie
Continental Airlines
Carnes Ely LLP
Que Imaging, Inc.


FotoFest Board of Directors
The Brown Foundation, Inc.
The Wortham Foundation

Special thanks to Joanne Edmundson, Edmundson Consulting.



FotoFest offers free guided school tours. To schedule a tour please contact Jennifer Ward, Exhibitions Coordinator
at or 713.223.5522 ext. 18


Attorney Mark Sullivan (center) with Guantánamo detainee Abdullah al
Naoimi's brother and father
Courtesy of Collection of Through the Walls/Margot Herster ©2007.
Attorney Sarah Havens holding pictures of Guantánamo detainee
Abdulaziz al Swidi and his sister's newborn daughter
Courtesy of Collection of Through the Walls/Margot Herster ©2007.