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Mary Beth Meehan June 22, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Irish Politicians on Election Night. Brockton, Massachusetts 2007

Mary Beth Meehan (b. 1967, USA) is a Providence-based documentary photographer who explores issues of culture, immigration, and community. Her goal is to create a connection with the people of those communities, whose identities are often obscured by economics, politics, or race. Images from her series City of Champions recently won Onward 11’s Juror Award, selected by Larry Fink. Her work has been exhibited and published widely, including in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the Washington Post, and has been honored by Pictures of the Year International and The National Conference for Community and Justice. Her weekly photo-and-text column in the Providence Journal was one of the first to attract national acclaim, and was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. Meehan teaches Documentary Photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

About the Photograph:

“My current series, City of Champions, is a look at my hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts, an effort to personalize the changes there of the last century, and to convey the emotional charge of so much change. The Irish were among the first to settle in Brockton, building the city with shoe-factory income, and amassing political power. They still dominate politics, even though the majority of residents are people of color, new immigrants come from the world’s poorest and most war-torn countries, and the city is beset by housing foreclosure, economic decline, and crime. This photograph was made in a bar on election night, when the Irish-American mayor with a 10th-grade education barely squeaked out re-election over an African-American man, who held advanced college degrees and had promised political reform. Here, the mayor’s supporters celebrated the close call, surrounded by idealized reminders of their own heritage.”

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