The Rock

Benjamin Padgett

Las Vegas, United States

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Artist's Description

During his exploration of the area in 1775, Spaniard Juan Manuel de Ayala named the island “La Isla de los Alcatraces,” which translates as “The Island of the Pelicans”. The 22-acre island is composed of irregularly stratified sandstone, lending itself to the nickname of “The Rock”. The lighthouse was completed in 1854, the first to be built on the Pacific coast. The main cellhouse was completed in 1912 and served as a military prison before becoming a Federal prison in 1934. The most hardened criminals were held at Alcatraz due to its natural isolation, being surrounded by freezing waters and hazardous currents. Mobsters Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone are perhaps the most notable of all notorious Alcatraz prisoners. The photograph was taken through branches near the Municipal Pier and has been given a dark and gloomy treatment such as to echo the ominous history of “The Rock”.

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