Shot over the course of four years, “U.S. Marshals” chronicles the culture as well as the practices and procedures of the country’s oldest law enforcement agency. “I felt like it was my own version of the TV show ‘Cops,’” said Brian Finke.
Established in 1798, the duties of the U.S. Marshals include apprehending fugitives, transporting and housing prisoners, and protecting witnesses and federal judges. Finke gained unprecedented access to document the Marshals in 2010 after re-connecting with a childhood friend—Deputy U.S. Marshal Cameron Welch. It did not take long at all for Finke to find himself in the thick of things. His first ride-along included a 120-mph pursuit of an escaped convict in Huntsville, Texas.
Finke photographed U.S. Marshals in cities across the country including Houston, Las Vegas, New York City, Syracuse, Utica, Philadelphia, Camden, Atlantic City, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and a handful of Texas border towns, including Brownsville, McAllen, Laredo, Del Rio, Alpine, and El Paso. The resulting images present a ground zero portrait of the most dangerous, conflict-seeking patrol force in the U.S.
Brian Finke graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1998 with a BFA in photography. Since that time, he has had incredible success as an artist, with work placed in nine museum collections here and abroad. His first monograph was named one of the best photography books of 2004 by American Photo magazine. Also in 2004, Finke was one of twelve artists nominated for the International Center for Photography’s annual Infinity Award, and he won a prestigious New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship.