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Novelty “floaty pens” are as ubiquitous and generic as the tourist gift shops that sell them, but some of the sexier examples are considerably more, ahem, revealing. The discovery of a few such pens in a desk drawer in the CITY office inspired this women’s lingerie story. With ace photographer and longtime CITY friend Kenji Toma, we created a narrative in which a man doing time in prison fosters a bizarre obsession with these pens.
“Penitentiary,” which was nominated for the 2007 National Magazine Award for Photo Portfolio, pays remarkable attention to detail—look closely for not just the beautiful ladies in their skivvies, but also the prisoner’s other personal belongings, which perhaps reveal his true character (and chance at parole).