ITAS Podcast Season 6, Ep.6

I met photographer Peter Merts through Annie Buckley from the episode Art as a Human Right. Peter has been involved in the Arts in Corrections program for many years and has become an official photographer for such programs in all of California and beyond. Although prison art has been by far the biggest project, it’s not the only social program Peter has been documenting on top of his personal fine art practice.

Listen to this episode to learn more!

Peter Merts fine art photographer

About Peter Merts

Peter Merts has been a photographer for several decades, specializing in documentary, portrait, and fine art forms. Most recently, his work was exhibited at the California State Capitol and the San Francisco Opera House. His work has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Economist, Newsweek Online, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, and others.

Some of Peter’s prison arts photography was funded by the California Arts Council, which administers the state’s Arts in Corrections program. In 2015, Peter and Dr. Larry Brewster published Paths of Discovery—Art Practice and Its Impact in California State Prisons (second edition.)

In Spring 2022, Peter published a monograph of his photographs as Ex Crucible: The Passion of Incarcerated Artists, with Daylight Books.

Photographs by Peter Mets

Links and references

official website:


Fine art collections:



Bread and Roses brings live music and the performing arts to children, adults, and seniors who are disadvantaged, marginalized, or otherwise isolated in diverse institutional settings in the San Francisco Bay Area:

California Arts in Corrections is a partnership between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the California Arts Council designed to have a positive impact on the social and emotional well-being of people experiencing incarceration:

Mother Miracle School is providing free education and nutrition to impoverished children in India:

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