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Working Waterfront: Photographic Portraits

New Bedford Whaling Museum photo exhibit | May through December 2009.

“Working Waterfront: Photographic Portraits” focuses on local shoreside workers and their jobs: from fish cutter to purveyor, from net mender to auctioneer, from lumper to inspector. Each job vital to the daily operation supplying seafood to market. All photographs were taken by Phillip Mello and are part of a project he began early in 2008 and which continues today; to photograph the local fishing industry through the people who work in it. Mr. Mello knows these people and this place well, having worked with them and here for over 34 years he is currently Plant Manager at Bergies Seafood, New Bedford. His access is unencumbered.

New Bedford is, and has been, a maritime center going back to the days of whaling. The museum’s iconic half-scale whaling bark model Lagoda, represents this bygone era. Mr. Mello’s photographs, this exhibit, tell a similar maritime story, as the men and women portrayed here live their lives tied to the ocean. It is just a slight stretch to imagine these two eras linked together as one in the faces of these workers.

(Mr. Mello also serves as president of the New Bedford Port Society located across the street from the museum in the Mariners’ Home and the Seamen’s Bethel. His photographs are made primarily using a Mamiya RZ 67 pro II camera with Kodak BW400cn Professional film.)

New Bedford Whaling Museum Flickr set (49 photos)