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Phil Mello

Phil Mello PhotograpyA long time fixture on the New Bedford waterfront, Phil was born and grew up in neighboring Fairhaven, Massachusetts. His first job in the industry was as a technician for a marine electronics company in 1975. He then moved on to a position working as a deckhand on several area tug boats.

In the early eighties Phil moved onto a local fish processing company and worked as a forklift operator quickly working his way up the ladder until he eventually became the sales manager. Twelve years later he planted roots at Bergie’s Seafood another local fish processing company as plant manager and still holds that position today.

In the thirty-three years he has been active on the waterfront Phil has seen and documented many of the changes that have occurred during that time. Never without a camera nearby, he has amassed significant portfolio of images of these changes and the people that were instrumental in making them happen.

From May through November 2009, the New Bedford Whaling Museum organized an exhibition of Phil Mello’s work titled “Working Waterfront: Photographic Portraits.” (museum’s website and Flickr set) In this exhibit he tells the story of the Port of New Bedford and the fishing industry which has made it the largest grossing port in the country. Done in black and white, the images depicted in the exhibit capture the personalities of the people currently working in the industry. These are the people from the support services that derive their living from the fishing fleet. These are the people that are many times overlooked when people speak of fishing in general, but they are very much an everyday part of the entire package.

Currently serving as President of the New Bedford Port Society, Phil Mello continues to be very active in waterfront affairs and hopes to continue to chronicle the events and personalities that make the Port of New Bedford the largest in the United States.