#mary_beth_meehan

  • Mary Beth Meehan’s photos dissolve distances between people - CSMonitor.com
    https://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Book-Reviews/2021/1006/Mary-Beth-Meehan-s-photos-dissolve-distances-between-people
    https://images.csmonitor.com/csm/2021/09/1011+BOOKS%20meehan%20pool.jpg?alias=standard_900x600

    By April Austin Weekly Deputy Editor, Books Editor
    Silicon Valley exerts a magnetism like a tractor beam on people from around the world. They come to the San Francisco Bay Area seeking riches, or at least the trickle down from the booming high-tech economy led by Apple, Alphabet (owner of Google), and Facebook.

    The reality, as photographer Mary Beth Meehan depicts in the book “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America,” is strikingly different. Yes, tech companies have created thousands of jobs, she says in an interview, “but the dominant narrative about a ‘utopia’ obscures how life is actually lived, and what it means to be a human being there.” The gap between the ultra-wealthy and ordinary workers – who cannot afford housing and basic necessities even with decent-paying jobs – is widening.   

    Silicon Valley is a microcosm of the broader inequality that divides the nation, according to Meehan. The effects are felt not just economically but socially. “People are living right next to each other and they don’t interact,” she says. To counter this sense of separation, the photographer created portraits that encourage readers to go beyond stereotypes to see the people who make up this amorphous place known as Silicon Valley. The result is a book of images that speaks to the human toll exacted by the relentless economy. 


    Alfredo Sosa/Staff
    Mary Beth Meehan stands in front of one of her mural-sized photographs at the WaterFire Arts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, in August.

    WHY WE WROTE THIS

    From afar, the lives of others can take on a caricature-like quality. Mary Beth Meehan’s photography invites neighbors to see each other more fully.

    The project began with an invitation from Stanford University professor Fred Turner, who brought Meehan to the university with the idea of using photography to go beneath the “streets of gold” myth. Her photographs would help answer questions such as: Who lives in the area? What are the conditions in which they live?  

    It’s not the first time that Meehan has created portraits of individuals in a specific community; her past projects include Brockton, Massachusetts; Newnan, Georgia; and her now-hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. The process she developed in those cities set the template for her work in Silicon Valley. In each of those projects, she spent time getting to know the area. She went out with her camera and knocked on doors, visited houses of worship, and talked with people on the street and in their homes. 

    Meehan’s approach involves capturing people from a cross section of a city’s demographics. “Each individual is her- or himself, but they also represent a community, a whole ecosystem,” she says. Some of her photographs of Newnan and Providence eventually became large-scale banners, the biggest measuring 38 feet wide, that were displayed on public buildings in those cities, furthering dialogues within the communities. 

    Mary Beth Meehan
    A U.S. Army veteran, Cristobal works full time as a security officer at Facebook. He earns $21 per hour, but he can’t afford a home in Silicon Valley. He lives in a backyard shed in Mountain View.
    Meehan, who grew up in a working-class family with immigrant Irish and Italian roots, has made it her lifework to help spark conversations among people of different racial, class, and cultural backgrounds. The essence of her approach is simple but far from easy: “Just go talk to people.” 

    She’s aware that her background as a well-educated white woman might raise questions in some communities that have been historically misunderstood and misrepresented in the media. “I’m interested in all the ways that we see each other incorrectly, and how photography can push against that,” she says.  

    The people in these neighborhoods are far more accustomed to journalists and researchers who have already formed a judgment about the situation before they even ask their first question. Meehan takes a different approach: “Let’s let the people, who are the experts on their own lives, tell us.” 

    Mary Beth Meehan
    Ravi and Gouthami work as pharmaceutical-technology engineers. They would like to make a home and start a family, but with the high cost of housing – their one-bedroom apartment costs $3,000 a month – they are not sure they can afford to stay.

    Meehan has wrestled with photography’s history as a tool of exploitation, in which people with money and access have had the power to shape the dominant narrative. She’s come to the conclusion that the practice of photography needs to be rebuilt in a way that “doesn’t reinscribe the old ruptures.” The answer, she says, is developing deeper collaborations. For her, this means mentoring everyone from schoolchildren to older adults from diverse backgrounds as they find their own paths to self-
    expression through photography. 

    When she makes portraits, Meehan collaborates with individuals to decide where and how they will be photographed, and what they’ll be wearing. Her skill is seen in the deliberateness with which she frames and edits the picture. 

    By highlighting the humanity of each person, Meehan hopes to bring out the viewer’s humanity. This is especially important in a place like Silicon Valley, she says, where the wealthy may not really see the people who clean, cook, and care for them and their families. It’s a place where immigrants arrive seeking the American dream, only to end up struggling to find a foothold. 

    “Each project is pushing against a big system,” she says. “In Silicon Valley, it’s the myth that the economy there is floating all boats.” Why, she argues, can’t some of that enormous wealth go into creating healthy lives for the people there? “That’s the question we’re really asking, and what does that say about the American economy?”

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Visage_Silicon_Valley

  • A large-scale installation of portraits by photographer Mary Beth Meehan
    https://events.brown.edu/watson-international-public/event/221928-seeing-silicon-valley

    A large-scale installation of portraits by photographer Mary Beth Meehan on the Watson Institute (111 Thayer Street) and in Stephen Robert ’62 Hall (280 Brook Street). Installation on view October 13, 2021 through May 31, 2023.

    MARY BETH MEEHAN uses photography to transform public spaces, works collaboratively to reflect communities back to themselves, and aims to jolt people into considering one another anew. Combining image, text, and large-scale public installation, Meehan’s work challenges notions of representation, visibility, and equity, and prompts people to talk with one another about what they see. Meehan’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, as well as in publications in the U.K., Europe, and Asia.

    A former artist in residence at Stanford University in 2017, Meehan collaborated with Stanford professor Fred Turner ’84 to produce her first book, Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America, which was published by the University of Chicago Press in Spring 2021. The book is currently in its second printing.

    Meehan has lectured and led workshops at the School of Visual Arts, New York, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. A native of Brockton, Massachusetts, Meehan holds degrees from Amherst College and the University of Missouri, Columbia. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan

  • Mary Beth Meehan on How a Single Photo Can Spark New Conversations – The Hawks’ Herald
    https://rwuhawksherald.com/7862/arts-and-culture/mary-beth-meehan-on-how-a-single-photo-can-spark-new-conversations

    Meehan is an independent photographer, writer and editor whose work has been featured in The New York Times and other publications as well as in internationally prestigious collections. She describes herself as a public art activist, someone who uses art as representational justice that allows others to see across race, gender and religion by sparking conversations about who and what is seen, and by whom. In her lecture, she explained the path of her career and the way she came to understand exactly how an image can spark a new conversation.

    “People want to tell you what their lives are like, if you care,” Meehan said.

    Her first photography installation was put up outside her parents’ house and featured many people from the Brockton community. This public installation prompted many of those featured in her photos to show up and start having conversations with each other and her family, all thanks to a situation that they otherwise never would have been a part of. It was here that Meehan got the idea that the point of her work was to get people to see things differently.

    As she went on to explain, it was following this first installation that she displayed her work in downtown Brockton as part of her “City of Champions” series. This was when her work first started getting widespread attention. Volunteers started to give walking tours of Meehan’s pictures, and one woman even went around and interviewed people about what they thought the photos meant. When one observer got very vocally upset about the pictures, Meehan was able to converse with her about why, that was when she realized just how powerful an image could be.

    However, her most impactful work came about in Newnan, Georgia. As someone who grew up in New England, she explained, her work here became about grappling with her own stereotypes of the South. She visited and revisited Newnan over the course of two years, conducting interviews and witnessing moments that illustrated the community’s identity. However, when her installation “Seeing Newnan,” which featured less-seen members of Newnan’s community, was put on display, it received very vocal online backlash from members of the community. These people even went so far as to complain about and harass Meehan herself. However, the community as a whole fought back against these outliers, showing that the group did not represent everyone’s views.

    “People aren’t rude,” Meehan said after her presentation concluded. “They’re amazing, like heart-to-heart. This stuff isn’t about me. I’m just the lightning rod; the communities and people come out and do the rest.”

    Le seul livre de photos de Mary Beth Meehan en français est :
    Visages de la Silicon Valley

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Photographie #Brockton #Newnan

  • Mary Beth Meehan’s photos dissolve distances between people - CSMonitor.com
    https://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Book-Reviews/2021/1006/Mary-Beth-Meehan-s-photos-dissolve-distances-between-people
    https://images.csmonitor.com/csm/2021/09/1011+BOOKS%20meehan%20pool.jpg?alias=standard_900x600

    Silicon Valley exerts a magnetism like a tractor beam on people from around the world. They come to the San Francisco Bay Area seeking riches, or at least the trickle down from the booming high-tech economy led by Apple, Alphabet (owner of Google), and Facebook.

    The reality, as photographer Mary Beth Meehan depicts in the book “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America,” is strikingly different. Yes, tech companies have created thousands of jobs, she says in an interview, “but the dominant narrative about a ‘utopia’ obscures how life is actually lived, and what it means to be a human being there.” The gap between the ultra-wealthy and ordinary workers – who cannot afford housing and basic necessities even with decent-paying jobs – is widening.

    Silicon Valley is a microcosm of the broader inequality that divides the nation, according to Meehan. The effects are felt not just economically but socially. “People are living right next to each other and they don’t interact,” she says. To counter this sense of separation, the photographer created portraits that encourage readers to go beyond stereotypes to see the people who make up this amorphous place known as Silicon Valley. The result is a book of images that speaks to the human toll exacted by the relentless economy.

    When she makes portraits, Meehan collaborates with individuals to decide where and how they will be photographed, and what they’ll be wearing. Her skill is seen in the deliberateness with which she frames and edits the picture.

    By highlighting the humanity of each person, Meehan hopes to bring out the viewer’s humanity. This is especially important in a place like Silicon Valley, she says, where the wealthy may not really see the people who clean, cook, and care for them and their families. It’s a place where immigrants arrive seeking the American dream, only to end up struggling to find a foothold.

    “Each project is pushing against a big system,” she says. “In Silicon Valley, it’s the myth that the economy there is floating all boats.” Why, she argues, can’t some of that enormous wealth go into creating healthy lives for the people there? “That’s the question we’re really asking, and what does that say about the American economy?”

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Visages

  • A conversation with Fred Turner and photographer Mary Beth Meehan | USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
    https://annenberg.usc.edu/events/annenberg-research-seminar/conversation-silicon-valley-culture-expert-fred-turner-and

    Annenberg Research Seminar
    A conversation with Silicon Valley culture expert Fred Turner and photographer Mary Beth Meehan
    Monday, November 8, 2021 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. PT Online

    Acclaimed photographer Mary Beth Meehan and Silicon Valley culture expert Fred Turner join forces to give us an unseen view of the heart of the tech world.

    Photo of Mary Beth Meehan Mary Beth Meehan
    It’s hard to imagine a place more central to American mythology today than Silicon Valley. To outsiders, the region glitters with the promise of extraordinary wealth and innovation. But behind this image lies another Silicon Valley, one segregated by race, class and nationality in complex and contradictory ways.

    Photo of Fred Turner Fred Turner
    With arresting photographs and intimate stories, Seeing Silicon Valley makes this hidden world visible. Join Fred Turner and Mary Beth Meehan as they discuss the making of the book, the role of photography in scholarship, activism and public life, and what it might mean for the technology industry to help us make a truly humane society.

    Speakers:

    Mary Beth Meehan is a photographer known for her large-scale, community-based portraiture centered around questions of representation, visibility, and social equity in the United States
    Fred Turner is Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication at Stanford University

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Fred_Turner #Visages_Silicon_Valley

  • EYE TO EYE Photographs and Projects by MARY BETH MEEHAN Digital Catalog - WaterFire Providence
    https://waterfire.org/about-the-waterfire-arts-center/exhibitions/eye-to-eye-photographs-and-projects-mary-beth-meehan-digital-catalog

    The photographic gaze has been much dissected by critics and theorists. Our media-saturated social world is awash daily in casual imagery that vanishes as quickly as it arises.

    Yet photography in the hands of an engaged artist can be transcendent – a silver mirror to the soul. Meehan’s photographs are the result of her radical purpose, a sincere and thoughtful engagement with the people around her, and the revelations that come from such a committed outlook. Her concern over the past two decades has been to examine her own preconceptions and to urge us into a new regard for one another – across differences of race, class, culture, or religion. Reflected in this process we are able to see ourselves more clearly.

    Meehan has spent her career working in American communities, engaging them as ecosystems of interdependent individuals, often challenging the dominant narratives that valorize and celebrate a few and erase and deny the many. Meehan’s stunning portraits allow each of us to behold one another – in the formal sense of the word ‘behold,’ to see a person anew, with a kind, active and attentive regard – with the intention of achieving understanding and sharing respect. In essence, coming Eye to Eye with one another.

    The WaterFire Arts Center is pleased to present work from all four of Meehan’s most recent in-depth projects – from Brockton, Massachusetts, to Providence, Rhode Island, to Newnan, Georgia, to her newest project and book on Silicon Valley, California. In these times of a much needed re-examination of our society’s failure to assure equity and justice for all, we hope these portraits can contribute to this important on-going conversation. The WaterFire Arts Center will be producing a series of talks and community discussions that will extend and amplify the ethos and impact of Mary Beth Meehan’s photographs and projects.

    In 2011 in her hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts, Meehan began installing her work as large-scale banners right in the public square to prompt dialogue and engagement among the people who share space together. These public art projects continued here in Providence with a large-scale collaboration with the Providence Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism, and in Newnan, Georgia, at the invitation of the University of West Georgia. Her most recent banner was just installed in Providence in collaboration with Jessica “The Lady J” Brown, For Freedoms, and the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society. We are pleased to include a sampling of her original banners here.

    “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America,” in collaboration with Fred Turner, has just be

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Exposition #Providence

  • GoLocalProv | Exhibition Celebrates Photographer Mary Beth Meehan at WaterFire - Inside Art with Michael Rose
    https://www.golocalprov.com/lifestyle/exhibition-celebrates-photographer-mary-beth-meehan-at-waterfire-inside

    Over the last year, the WaterFire Arts Center has become a premier setting for stunning exhibitions. The venue’s latest show celebrates the remarkable capacity of photography to celebrate everyday people and build community. On view through August 22, WaterFire is mounting an excellent survey of large-scale photographs by Providence artist Mary Beth Meehan. The exhibition, appropriately titled Eye to Eye, consists of sensitive and beautiful portraits capturing sitters drawn from regions throughout the United States. Although technology has rendered the world image-sodden, Meehan’s portraits are an antidote to the alienation common in today’s culture.

    The famed French street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson spoke of the importance of “the decisive moment” in making images. For Meehan, great photography can more readily be equated with the decisive individual. Regular people who will not find themselves on magazine covers or as models in advertising campaigns are Meehan’s subjects of choice. She elevates her sitters to the status of popular icons in form and treatment, signifying her care and respect for their diverse and unique experiences.

    One method Meehan employs to highlight her models is the sheer size of her photographs, which are often printed as industrial banners and then adhered to buildings, pushing viewers to reassess their own connectedness. This hierarchy of scale accords the same level of importance to the individuals being photographed as to a billboard in Times Square.

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan

    N’oubliez pas : le premier livre de photographies de Mary beth Meehan a été publié en France chez C&F éditions.


    https://cfeditions.com/visages

  • Rhode Island PBS Weekly | Behind the Myths | Interview de Mary beth Meehan
    https://www.pbs.org/video/behind-myths-ivhbly

    Interview vidéo d’une vingtaine de minutes de Mary Beth Meehan par Bill Batholomew sur PBS (télé locale/nationale équivalent d’un service public aux USA).

    Mary Beth est une photographe-anthropologue, qui aime renvoyer aux gens (aux villes, aux communautés,...) une image de leur collectif. Une image surprenante, souvent de remise en cause. Une image collective portée par des photos individuelles. De grand art.

    Je suis très fier d’avoir publié le premier livre de Mary Beth Meehan, « Visages de la Silicon valley » (https://cfeditions.com/visages)

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan

  • In Silicon Valley, many find it impossible to make ends meet | The Big Issue
    https://www.bigissue.com/culture/books/in-silicon-valley-many-find-it-impossible-to-make-ends-meet

    Facebook, Google and hundreds of other companies that drive our digital lives call Silicon Valley home, but so do people who find it almost impossible to make ends meet, even if they are key to keeping billion-dollar industries running.

    In a new book, photographer Mary Beth Meehan presents a series of portraits that show another side of the people who power the world’s tech capital.

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Visages_Silicon_Valley

  • Mary Beth Meehan: Seeing Silicon Valley - LENSCRATCH
    http://lenscratch.com/2021/05/mary-beth-meehan-seeing-silicon-valley

    “For more than seven decades, business leaders, politicians, and would-be entrepreneurs have tried to unravel the secrets of Silicon Valley. In just over one hundred powerful, haunting pages, Meehan and Turner have captured a side of the valley rarely seen: the deeply inequitable landscape of contingent and disproportionately foreign-born labor that makes its high-tech magic possible. Humane, insightful, and deeply compelling, this book tells the story of Silicon Valley in a completely new and utterly magnetic way.” – Margaret O’Mara, author of The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America

    Photographer Mary Beth Meehan has a legacy of considering the complexity of communities and reminding us of our humanity through her portraits and interviews. For her newest project and book published by the University of Chicago Press, Seeing Silicon Valley, she joined forces with Silicon Valley culture expert Fred Turner to give us an unseen view of the heart of the tech world.

    When considering the population central to this American mythology, we might consider the characters of the television show Silicon Valley–rag tag techies that carry dark under eye circles from long days in front of a screen without sunshine and a small cluster of visionaries who have gotten very rich from technology. But the reality of place is very different. Behind this image lies another Silicon Valley, one segregated by race, class, and nationality in complex and contradictory ways. Its beautiful landscape lies atop underground streams of pollutants left behind by decades of technological innovation, and while its billionaires live in compounds, surrounded by redwood trees and security fences, its service workers live in their cars.

    With arresting photography and intimate stories, Seeing Silicon Valley makes this hidden world visible. Instead of young entrepreneurs striving for efficiency in minimalist corporate campuses, we see portraits of struggle—families displaced by an impossible real estate market, workers striving for a living wage, and communities harmed by environmental degradation. If the fate of Silicon Valley is the fate of America—as so many of its boosters claim—then this book gives us an unvarnished look into the future.

    Mary Beth Meehan uses photography to transform public spaces, works collaboratively to reflect communities back to themselves, and aims to jolt people into considering one another anew. Combining image, text, and large-scale public installation, Meehan’s work challenges notions of representation, visibility, and equity, and prompts people to talk with one another about what they see.

    Meehan’s first book, Seeing Silicon Valley: Life inside a Fraying America, with Fred Turner, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in Spring of 2021.

    “Seeing Newnan,” Meehan’s most recent public installation, was featured on the Sunday front page of The New York Times on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, in January of 2020, and has shifted the dialogue about representation, identity, and race in that small Georgia city.

    Meehan has held residencies at Stanford University, the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and at Brown University upcoming in 2021. She has lectured and led workshops at the School of Visual Arts, New York, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

    A native of Brockton, Massachusetts, Mary Beth holds degrees from Amherst College and the University of Missouri, Columbia. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
    Book spread 2

    Spread from “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America” University of Chicago Press, 2021

    Seeing Silicon Valley

    Seeing Silicon Valley is a collaboration between myself and Silicon Valley culture scholar Fred Turner. During the Fall of 2017 I was invited by Turner to hold an artist’s residency at Stanford University, in order to try to see, ­through my own eyes, what life was like for the thousands of workers in that mythic place. Since then Turner and I have worked together to present what we found – a place, within one of the richest economies in the world, where life is tenuous and where people struggle to find stability, connection, and community. These portraits and narratives are meant to draw viewers in to considering Silicon Valley on an intimate, human scale, and reflecting on what it means for our future.
    From “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America” University of Chicago Press, 2021

    ©Mary Beth Meehan, RAVI and GOUTHAMI Between them, Ravi and Gouthami have multiple degrees — in biotechnology, computer science, chemistry, and statistics. After studying in India and working in Wisconsin and Texas, they have landed here, in the international center of technology, where they work in the pharmaceutical-technology industry. They rent an apartment in Foster City and attend a Hindu temple in Sunnyvale, where immigrants from India have been building a community since the early 1990s. Although the couple have worked hard to get here, and they make good money, they feel that a future in Silicon Valley eludes them — their one-bed-room apartment, for example, costs almost $3,000 a month. They could move somewhere less expensive, but, with the traffic, they’d spend hours each day commuting. They would like to stay, but they don’t feel confident that they can save, invest, start a family. They’re not sure what to do next. From “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America” University of Chicago Press, 2021
    From “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America”

    ©Mary Beth Meehan, RICHARD Richard has spent his entire adult life in the auto industry, loving his work and making good money. In 2010, the year that GM went bankrupt and the plant he worked at in Fremont closed, he was earning $120,000 a year. After Tesla took over the plant, Richard got a job on the manufacturing floor. He was paid $18 an hour, or less than $40,000 a year. Richard started noticing things that didn’t seem right. As a line worker assembling car doors, he was required to work twelve-hour shifts, five or six days a week. Richard had a home, but he noticed young guys “who came in broke, with a bag of clothes” being hired, working the long shifts, sleeping in their cars, showering in the break room, and doing it again the next day. When a friend invited Richard to meet with the United Automobile Workers union, he agreed. Soon after that, when people complained to him about the low pay or long hours, he’d tell them that with the union, they could stand up for themselves. He handed out buttons and T-shirts, told people they had a choice. “We don’t want to break ’em,” he said of the company. “We just want a little larger piece of the pie — so we can have a cooler of beer every now and then, go camping once in a while.” Though he’d never received a negative review, Richard was fired last October, along with more than four hundred other workers. The UAW has filed a complaint, alleging that Tesla fired workers who were trying to unionize. The worst part for Richard, he says, is that he hears the employees are now too scared to talk about the union. He believes that all his hard work has been in vain. From “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America” University of Chicago Press, 2021
    From “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America” University of Chicago Press, 2021

    ©Mary Beth Meehan,WARREN In junior high, in Illinois, before he knew anyone else who had a personal computer, Warren got to play Lemonade Stand on his uncle Bob’s Commodore PET. At thirteen, he attended a computer trade show in Chicago: “I didn’t even know what I was looking at,” he says. “But it was cool. It piqued my curiosity profoundly.” In high school, Warren sought out a friend who could teach him all the workings of computers. After he graduated as his school’s valedictorian, Warren went to Stanford to study engineering and business. Then he became a venture capitalist, backing such fledgling firms as Skype, Hotmail, and Tesla (and turning down the founders of Theranos, one of Silicon Valley’s legendary frauds). Ten years ago, he says, “I did a very Silicon Valley thing”: he called a few of his industry pals to launch Thuuz, a service that creates highlights of sporting events in real time. He runs the company out of a bungalow in Palo Alto, adjacent to his house—just a block away from the garage where Hewlett-Packard began. Warren’s company is small, and while he wants it to be successful, he doesn’t strive to make it one of Silicon Valley’s giants. “Many of those companies are huge because they are willing to cross some lines,” he says—ethical, moral lines. “Steve Jobs was irascible,” he says, “Jobs was tough, Jobs was rude.” But, says Warren, thanks to the iPhone, billions of people in India and China now have access to information. “I put Steve Jobs above that line and say, ‘Yeah, he could have been a jerk, but he’s above that line.’” Warren feels differently about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. “He has broken some massive, massive rules,” he says. “He is completely abusing his users.” Facebook has “corrupted our election. They corrupted Brexit, over in Europe. They’ve destroyed minorities in Asia. . . . They are below the line, below the line. Absolutely, below the line.” From “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America” University of Chicago Press, 2021

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Visages_Silicon_Valley

  • Great Reads in Photography: May 16, 2021 | PetaPixel
    https://petapixel.com/2021/05/16/great-reads-in-photography-may-16-2021

    Every Sunday, we bring together a collection of easy-reading articles from analytical to how-to to photo-features in no particular order that did not make our regular daily coverage. Enjoy!

    Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America — Lenscratch
    From “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America” University of Chicago Press, 2021
    Elisa and Family © Mary Beth Meehan, courtesy University of Chicago Press. 2021
    Mary Beth Meehan © Molly Heller

    Acclaimed photographer Mary Beth Meehan and Silicon Valley culture expert Fred Turner join forces to give us an unseen view of the heart of the tech world.

    “With arresting photography and intimate stories, Seeing Silicon Valley makes this hidden world visible,” says Aline Smithson in Lenscratch. “Instead of young entrepreneurs striving for efficiency in minimalist corporate campuses, we see portraits of struggle—families displaced by an impossible real estate market, workers striving for a living wage, and communities harmed by environmental degradation.

    “If the fate of Silicon Valley is the fate of America—as so many of its boosters claim—then this book gives us an unvarnished look into the future.”
    From “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America” University of Chicago Press, 2021
    Ravi and Gouthami © Mary Beth Meehan, courtesy University of Chicago Press, 2021

    Silicon Valley glitters with the promise of extraordinary wealth and innovation. But behind the façade lies a world segregated by race, class, and nationality in complex and contradictory ways.
    Cristobal was born in Bakersfield, out in the desert. After high school, he served eight years in the Army, including one tour in the Iraq war. He now works full time as a security guard at Facebook. He starts at dawn, guiding cars on and off the campus, and making sure walkers looking down at their phones cross safely. Despite this job, he has no health benefits, and he can’t afford to have a home in Silicon Valley. He’d like to go back to Bakersfield, to be near his mother, but there’s no work there. So he keeps doing his best. Cristobal feels he works hard, and has given back to his country, but his pay forces him to live in a rented repurposed shed, in a back yard in Mountain View. He’s starting to get angry. “Silicon Valley is a shithole,” he says.
    Cristobal © Mary Beth Meehan, courtesy University of Chicago Press, 2021

    “For those who have not been fortunate enough to make billionaire lists, for midlevel engineers and food truck workers and longtime residents, the valley has become increasingly inhospitable, testing their resilience and resolve,” say photographer Meehan and Turner in The New York Times.

    #Visages_Silicon_Valley #Fred_Turner #Mary_Beth_Meehan

  • 12 则真实硅谷故事:不一样的硅谷,残酷的人生百态_详细解读_最新资讯_热点事件_36氪
    https://www.36kr.com/p/1220133179347336
    https://img.36krcdn.com/20210512/v2_d8cd77d36e0b4b2783b64ed25a14d3be_img_jpg

    Les journaux chinois en parlent... l’édition originale est en français
    https://cfeditions.com/visages

    则真实硅谷故事:不一样的硅谷,残酷的人生百态
    神译局
    昨天
    关注
    在硅谷看不到未来。

    编者按:作为全球科技精英的圣地,硅谷似乎永远与创新、财富、机会、奇迹、梦想和成功这些令人心潮澎湃的词汇紧密相连。但在创造巨额财富、改变世界进程的同时,硅谷也是美国贫富分化最严重的地区之一,生活成本极其高昂,从赤贫的流浪汉到年入百万的白领精英,硅谷各个阶层的居民们都背负着巨大的生活压力。一起来看硅谷最真实的另一面吧!本文编译自《纽约时报》,作者Mary Beth Meehan和Fred Turner,原标题Seeing the Real Faces of Silicon Valley,希望给您带来启发。

    La véritable histoire de la Silicon Valley : une Silicon Valley différente, une vie brutale
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    L’avenir n’est pas en vue dans la Silicon Valley.

    Note de l’éditeur : en tant que Mecque de l’élite mondiale de la technologie, la Silicon Valley semble être associée pour toujours aux mots enivrants d’innovation, de richesse, d’opportunités, de miracles, de rêves et de succès. Mais si la Silicon Valley a créé d’énormes richesses et changé le cours du monde, c’est aussi l’une des régions les plus polarisées des États-Unis. Le coût de la vie y est extrêmement élevé, des sans-abri démunis à l’élite millionnaire en col blanc, les habitants de la Silicon Valley de tous horizons subissent une pression énorme pour vivre. Découvrez le vrai visage de la Silicon Valley ! Cet article a été compilé à partir du New York Times par Mary Beth Meehan et Fred Turner, sous le titre initial Seeing the Real Faces of Silicon Valley, et j’espère qu’il vous inspirera.

    #Fred_Turner #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Visages_Silicon_Valley

  • Providence photographer captures overlooked truths about Silicon Valley - The Boston Globe
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/05/11/metro/providence-photographer-captures-overlooked-truths-about-silicon-valley
    https://bostonglobe-prod.cdn.arcpublishing.com/resizer/mqqHgBHUEptHJkF7FfCDhgzWBfI=/506x0/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/bostonglobe/67J7OLM57BGGVAUNUEHMVARROA.jpg

    From Brockton to Providence, from small-town Georgia to Silicon Valley, photographer Mary Beth Meehan is challenging communities to see themselves in new ways, spurring discussions about race and inequality, the economy and the environment.

    “We want people to see beyond the myths of Silicon Valley’s wealth and innovation to the ways in which real people struggle in that environment,” Meehan said. “They struggle in terms of financial security but also to find connection and community.”

    In “Seeing Silicon Valley,” Meehan introduces us to Cristobal, a US Army veteran who makes $21 an hour working as a full-time security officer at Facebook but lives in a shed because he can’t afford a house in the area’s high-priced housing market.

    Meehan said a former colleague connected her to Turner, a Stanford communications professor who was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, lived in Boston for 10 years, and graduated from Brown University. The book was designed by a Providence resident, Lucinda Hitchcock.

    Turner, who now lives two miles from Google headquarters, said Silicon Valley excels at marketing itself. “But the actual community that is here on the ground is much more diverse and much more unequal than the mythology tells us,” he said. “Very few people look or make money like Mark Zuckerberg.”

    Turner said Meehan’s large-scale portraits demonstrated her ability to capture images that tell you something about both the person and their community, and as a Brockton native, she brought to bear a working-class background.

    “I hope people can see that the seemingly magical world of technology depends on the really hard work of a whole lot of different people,” he said. “In the same way that the Industrial Revolution in Boston didn’t just depend on the people who went to Harvard, Silicon Valley is not just the Zuckerbergs and Jobs.”

    Turner said the nation’s industries need to sustain the people that build them – not just a few people at the top. “The lesson is that if you just pursue profit and innovation, you can injure your workers, pollute your landscape, and build a society you wouldn’t want to be a member of,” he said. “We can do a lot better than that.”

    As an artist-in-residence at Stanford, Meehan spent six weeks introducing herself to strangers, sitting in kitchens and living rooms, listening to their stories.

    She said she found tremendous unease among the people there, not only among the cashiers and waiters, but among the tech professionals and other high-income earners. And she found the anxieties of Silicon Valley reflect a nationwide gulf between the rich and the poor – the hollowing out of the middle class.

    “Even though the stock market is doing well, people are struggling,” Meehan said. “If people are not doing well in Silicon Valley, then what does that say about where the country is headed?”

    #Fred_Turner #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Visages_Silicon_Valley

  • Seeing the Real Faces of Silicon Valley - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/08/business/economy/seeing-the-real-faces-of-silicon-valley.html

    The workers of Silicon Valley rarely look like the men idealized in its lore. They are sometimes heavier, sometimes older, often female, often darker skinned. Many migrated from elsewhere. And most earn far less than Mark Zuckerberg or Tim Cook.

    This is a place of divides.

    As the valley’s tech companies have driven the American economy since the Great Recession, the region has remained one of the most unequal in the United States.

    During the depths of the pandemic, four in 10 families in the area with children could not be sure that they would have enough to eat on any given day, according to an analysis by the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies. Just months later, Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, who recently added “Technoking” to his title, briefly became the world’s richest man. The median home price in Santa Clara County — home to Apple and Alphabet — is now $1.4 million, according to the California Association of Realtors.

    For those who have not been fortunate enough to make billionaire lists, for midlevel engineers and food truck workers and longtime residents, the valley has become increasingly inhospitable, testing their resilience and resolve.

    Here are 12 of them, who originally appeared in our book, “Seeing Silicon Valley,” from which this photo essay is excerpted.

    #Fred_Turner #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Visages_Silicon_Valley

  • Stanford scholar’s new collaboration reveals the complexities of life in Silicon Valley
    https://news.stanford.edu/press-releases/2021/05/04/revealing-complee-silicon-valley

    To capture what it’s like to live and work in Silicon Valley – for the affluent, those who are barely getting by and the many people in between – Stanford communication professor and Silicon Valley scholar Fred Turner teamed up with renowned photographer Mary Beth Meehan.

    Turner hopes his new project, a collaboration with renowned photographer Mary Beth Meehan, can shine a spotlight on some of the complexities of the region known as the center of tech innovation.

    “I knew that there were things that photographers could see that I couldn’t quite put into words,” said Turner, the Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication in the School of Humanities and Sciences, “I thought that if I worked with a photographer like Mary Beth Meehan I would find a new way to express some of the kinds of things that I wanted to express in academic work but hadn’t really found an idiom for.”

    The result of their academic-artistic collaboration is a new book, Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America, (University of Chicago Press, 2021), an intimate look into the everyday experiences of people who live and work in Silicon Valley, from some of its more wealthy residents to its poorest – and the many people in between. In a collection of over 30 portraits photographed in 2017 and 2019, readers see Silicon Valley workers inside their homes and at their workplaces – images that convey the realities of what life is like in one of America’s wealthiest regions.

    Meehan, who lives in Providence, Rhode Island, had never spent much time in Silicon Valley. What she knew of the region came mostly from stories she read in newspapers and magazines that had for a long time portrayed the region as a place of the future, where tech geniuses were transforming society.

    “Silicon Valley was a mythic idea for me,” Meehan said. “I had this idea of it as a place where everything sparkled, where everything was possible, where people were young and healthy – that it was a place in which all of the best of human ingenuity was put into play.”

    What Meehan encountered was far different from what she imagined.

    “Nothing could have prepared me for the uneasiness and human stress and suffering that went along with being a part of that economy,” Meehan said.

    Over several extended trips, Meehan immersed herself in Silicon Valley culture. She approached strangers she encountered on neighborhood streets and had long conversations with the cashiers she met at the taquerias she frequented. She attended a United Auto Workers meeting and went to a party with tech entrepreneurs – and through these interactions, Meehan began to see themes emerge from the valley’s hustle and bustle.

    Some of Meehan’s observations surprised Turner, particularly the feelings of economic insecurity workers reported experiencing on a daily basis.

    “One of the things that really surprised me was how Mary Beth heard a persistent humming of anxiety in the workers that she was talking with – at every level: from folks at the taqueria up to the executive, C-suite,” he said. “Across the board, you find folks worried about whether they can make it, whether they can survive, whether they can get ahead.”

    The project was supported by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Stanford Arts Initiative and the Departments of Communication and Art & Art History. An earlier version of the book was published in 2018 by C&F Editions in Paris, France.

    #Fred_Turner #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Visages_Silicon_Valley

  • Silicon Valley photograph book by Mary Beth Meehan and Fred Turner focuses on the unseen in the uber-rich area - The Washington Post
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/silicon-valley-photography-book-mary-beth-meehan/2021/04/30/4867019e-a46f-11eb-85fc-06664ff4489d_story.html

    Four years ago, New England portrait photographer Mary Beth Meehan received a query out of the blue. A professor in California named Fred Turner wanted to collaborate on a project about the people who live and work in Silicon Valley.

    “It was just so bizarre,” Meehan recalls thinking. “It never occurred to me to think of Silicon Valley as an actual place where people lived.”

    This was precisely Turner’s point. A Stanford University historian and professor of communication who has studied Silicon Valley culture for 20 years, Turner has long been troubled by what he calls the “persistent mythology” of the region, a digital ecosystem in Northern California known mainly as the home of Apple, Google and Facebook, and as the hub of billionaire innovators.

    “We tell ourselves that Silicon Valley is a place where heroic geniuses invent products that somehow harness the invisible powers of electricity and information and magically change the world,” Turner said in an interview. “And the heroes in our stories are almost always White men.”

    Everybody else might as well be invisible. “You can literally be here and see the young tech bros not seeing the people cleaning the stores or their houses or the streets,” he said. “It’s a kind of low-key oblivious arrogance that comes from being genuinely brilliant, spending a lot of time with machines, working with code, which is highly abstract and rational, and being rewarded with lots of money.”
    Image without a caption
    Photographer Mary Beth Meehan. (Molly Heller)

    Turner, a photography aficionado, was familiar with Meehan’s work and knew that invisibility is one of her key themes. Her process is to immerse herself in communities and create large-scale portraits of ordinary, uncelebrated people and install them as huge banners on the sides of buildings in downtown areas. Invariably, her installations prompt townwide dialogue about race, inclusiveness and the meaning of community. Meehan’s work also is evocative of JR, the French photographer and street artist, though she has been influenced by many artists who activate public spaces.
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    “A common thread is moving past preconceptions to understand one another,” said Meehan, who has created installations in Brockton, Mass., where she grew up, Providence, R.I., where she lives now, and, most recently, in Newnan, Ga., a small town striving to embrace and celebrate change in the wake of a white nationalist rally there in 2018.

    Meehan was eager to take on a Silicon Valley project, though she and Turner were fuzzy about the end product. Banners were — and continue to be — a consideration, but, Meehan said, “I haven’t been able to get my head around what banners would look like. There’s no central Silicon Valley space. There’s no there there. It’s a conglomeration of towns.”

    They ultimately landed on a book, featuring text and Meehan’s images. “Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America” will be released May 3 by the University of Chicago Press.
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    “Silicon Valley has long been a shining example of those who dream of a society built around individual initiative and enabling technologies,” Turner writes in the introduction. “But what does it feel like to live in such a world? What kind of society does the relentless pursuit of technological innovation and wealth produce?”

    Meehan went to Stanford in the fall of 2018 as an artist in residence and set to work finding the answer. She introduced herself to strangers, sat in their kitchens and living rooms, met them in businesses and shops.

    “I chased them on the street,” she said. “I met people through workers’ rights groups and at a gathering of young tech engineers. I met a couple in a Hindu temple. And then there was the magic of connecting with someone in that moment, photographically.”
    Justyna, one of Meehan’s subjects: “If we want to achieve excellence in technology, why can’t we achieve excellence in being good to each other?”
    Justyna, one of Meehan’s subjects: “If we want to achieve excellence in technology, why can’t we achieve excellence in being good to each other?” (© Mary Beth Meehan)
    Mary came to the United States from Uganda more than a year ago: “I’ve discovered one thing. There are people here who are poorer than we are in Africa . . . because our community cares for each other. . . . This place is lonely.”
    Mary came to the United States from Uganda more than a year ago: “I’ve discovered one thing. There are people here who are poorer than we are in Africa . . . because our community cares for each other. . . . This place is lonely.” (© Mary Beth Meehan)

    She got to know affluent professionals, people behind cash registers and in homeless encampments, rising tech stars, a recent immigrant from Uganda, a food truck worker from Mexico who serves burritos to Tesla employees, a man in his 80s who can’t afford an apartment so he lives in a small trailer a couple of miles from the Google campus; he has no electricity or running water. She met the parents of a 19-year-old girl who had killed herself. They allowed her to photograph the suicide note, in which she apologized and wrote: “i am not super smart or talented.”
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    As Meehan pieced together a narrative about the unseen heart of the tech world, what emerged was a startling view of Silicon Valley.

    “What surprised me, and what stays with me still, was the unease that was palpable in Silicon Valley,” Meehan writes in the book’s afterword. “From those at the lowest end of the economic spectrum to those with higher incomes whose unease was more existential, people conveyed how hard it was to find balance, connection, and community. The sense of distress was so pervasive that I wondered if I was seeing things correctly.”

    Among the people she photographed was the blond-haired Justyna with a piercing gaze, originally from Poland. (No last names are used in the book.) She has a PhD, works on self-driving cars and shares a mansion with other scientists in Cupertino. She told Meehan she used to be idealistic but thinks people have lost track of the core values of integrity, respect for others and being good to each other. “We seem to be losing ourselves,” she said.

    Meehan met Mark, 39, born with severe brain damage. When his mother was pregnant, she worked in the electronics industry making the lasers that scan groceries. She later learned that the greenish substance she was inhaling was toxic — and the cause of her son’s birth defects.
    Image without a caption
    Mark is 39 and needs constant care. His mother worked in a Mountain View electronics plant making laser scanners with a mixture that contained high levels of lead known to cause birth defects. (© Mary Beth Meehan)

    Brenda and Abraham lost their home after the 2008 crash. They lived for a while in improvised shacks that are common in the region, though illegal. They now live in a trailer in a long row of other trailers in Palo Alto, parked in front of the Stanford campus.
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    Mary, from Uganda, told Meehan: “There are people here who are poorer than we are in Africa.”

    She spent a lot of time with Cristobal, an Army veteran who works full time as a contract security officer at Facebook, earning $21 an hour. Meehan agreed to meet him at his home, which turned out to be a shed.

    “I was shocked,” she said. “[Cristobal and I] shared so much anger in the making of that picture. I mean, for God’s sakes. You have a full-time job, you served in the U.S. military. Should a home be so far outside your reach?”

    It was at times like this that the story she and Turner were telling became personal.

    “I was raised by working-class people, and there was a level of security that could be attained by hard work,” she said. “And when I think of the equivalent of that worker toiling away in Silicon Valley, I don’t see the same level of comfort or security or the ability to build a life or build wealth. It’s not a livable economy.

    “I don’t think the difference is in the character and ambitions of these people. I think the difference is in the system they entered. And that’s the part we’re not talking about.”

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Fred_Turner #Visages_Silicon_Valley

  • Visual Arts Review: “Seeing Silicon Valley” - Our Future Dystopia? - The Arts Fuse
    https://artsfuse.org/227474/visual-arts-review-seeing-silicon-valley-our-future-dystopia

    Meanwhile, Turner, now Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communications at Stanford, had embarked on similarly disillusioning project. Turner, who lives in Mountain View, in the heart of Silicon Valley, had studied the region’s culture for some two decades. In 2017, he invited Mary Beth Meehan, known for her “large-scale, community-based portraiture,” to spend six weeks in the Valley, photographing its inhabitants and listening to their stories.

    “He told me that he was troubled by the power of the region’s mythology,” Meehan recalls, “and wanted people to see the place as it is. He asked if I’d be willing to come and try to see it through my own eyes.” After her work got underway, Turner asked Meehan to his house once a week for a home-cooked dinner and would “pepper me with questions: ‘What are you seeing? What are you finding out there?’”

    But brevity, succinctness, and personal focus are among the key strengths of this powerful and important book, an account that fans out into other developing narratives about the decline of California as America’s paradise, social media’s mendacity and lack of civic responsibility, and the super-charged rise of economic injustice and insecurity. It is likely to attract a lot of attention, discussion, and controversy.

    Nowadays, the economy of Silicon Valley is based mostly on software, biotech, product development, and gigantic, Internet-based companies like Facebook and Google. Silicon and its industrial byproducts are no longer the raw materials of the region’s wealth, which is mostly generated via brand names and intellectual property. Meehan’s photographs and stories portray a different kind of environmental damage: economic and social disruption, especially the upheavals caused by a catastrophic rise in housing costs.

    Meehan’s photographs are unsentimental. Nobody smiles. The images are saturated in California sunlight and color and classically composed, suggesting the long heritage of Western portraiture. The various poverties they encompass do not immediately strike the eye, as Evans’ images do. The pain lurks below, like Turner’s underground toxic plumes.

    #Visages_Silicon_Valley #Fred_Turner #Mary_Beth_Meehan

  • Short Fuse Podcast #39 : « Seeing Silicon Valley » : The Fraying of Life in America - The Arts Fuse
    https://artsfuse.org/227588/short-fuse-podcast-39-seeing-silicon-valley-the-fraying-of-life-in-america

    N’oubliez pas que la version orginale de ce livre est celle en français de C&F éditions, il y a deux ans. Le livre est toujours d’actualité, c’est pourquoi les Presses de l’Université de Chicago le publient aujourd’hui.
    https://cfeditions.com/visages

    Perception vs. Reality. For many, the words “Silicon Valley” signify the egalitarian opportunities offered by America’s cutting-edge tech industry. Stark reality reveals a much more complicated picture. Growing inequality and an ever rising cost of living are putting pressure on all of the area’s workers: at least seven percent of families live in poverty without access to quality education, health care or housing. Fred Turner and Mary Beth Meehan spotlight these realities in their new book, Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America. In a recent conversation with Elizabeth Howard, they talk about the situation they found there, and what it reveals about our country as a whole.

    #Visages_Silicon_Valley #Fred_Turner #Mary_Beth_Meehan

  • 9 photographers you MUST know about, according to Annie Leibovitz | Digital Camera World
    https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/au/news/9-photographers-you-must-know-about-according-to-annie-leibovitz

    Très fiers d’être les seuls éditeurs au monde à avoir un livre de Mary Beth Meehan, encensée parmi des grands noms par Annie Leibovitz.

    9) Mary Beth Meehan

    “I do want to bring up, there was someone recently, this woman Mary Beth Meehan. I don’t know if you saw her work – she did an art installation in a small town in Georgia. She photographed portraits of people in the small town and then she took these huge prints, mural-sized prints, and put them on the sides of buildings, and it was incredible.”

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Annie_Leibovitz #Photographie

  • How 17 Outsize Portraits Rattled a Small Southern Town - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/19/us/newnan-art-georgia-race.html

    But it turned out that only a few dozen white nationalists attended the rally, and the Newnan they had imagined no longer existed. Its population had more than doubled in less than 20 years, drawing an increasingly diverse collection of newcomers. Newnan was changing and many in the community wanted to embrace that change more openly. A year after the white nationalist rally, the town made an effort to do so by putting up 17 large-scale banner portraits, images of the ordinary people who make up Newnan.

    They hang from the perches of brick buildings around downtown. There’s Helen Berry, an African-American woman who for years worked at a sewing factory. Wiley Driver, a white worker who folded and packed blankets at a local mill before his death in 2017. Jineet Blanco, a waitress who arrived in Newnan carrying her Mexican traditions and dreams. And then there were the Shah sisters.

    A portrait of Aatika and Zahraw Shah wearing hijabs was displayed on the side of an empty building in downtown Newnan. The sisters were born in Georgia and had lived in Newnan since 2012, after they moved from Athens, Ga. They attended a local high school in the county. Their father, an engineer, moved to the United States from Pakistan, as did their mother.

    The reaction to their portrait was fast and intense. James Shelnutt was driving through downtown when he saw it. “I feel like Islam is a threat to the American way of life,” he said. “There should be no positive portrayals of it.” Mr. Shelnutt turned to Facebook, encouraging residents to complain. The thread quickly devolved into anti-Muslim attacks and name-calling. Some posters referred to Sept. 11 and argued that believers of Islam were violent.

    One woman said there were not enough Muslims in Newnan for the Shahs to be included in the art installation in the first place.

    The portraits were meant to be inclusive, upend stubborn preconceptions and unravel the cocoons people had created within the community. And they did — but they also exposed how immigration and demographic change have recast the racial dynamics that once defined America, adding new layers of anxiety on the old tensions that persist across the country and in small towns like Newnan.

    “Seeing Newnan,” as the art installation is called, was created by the photographer Mary Beth Meehan. Mr. Hancock and Chad Davidson, director of the University of West Georgia’s School of the Arts, were in Providence, R.I., for an art conference in 2015 when they saw one of Ms. Meehan’s installations.

    Mr. Hancock was drawn to the beauty of the portraits, but he was also thinking about his almost exclusively white world in Newnan. “My children told me, ‘Dad, you are so open, but your circle is not inclusive,’” he said. “When I thought about it, they were right.” So he reached out to Ms. Meehan and told her about Newnan.

    He told her about the town’s race and class tensions, about the old Newnan versus the new Newnan, how residents who grew up here have watched the population explode. And yet, “I just felt like we were living apart,” Mr. Hancock said. “We were in these little bubbles. I thought this project could pierce the bubbles.”

    Ms. Meehan arrived in Newnan in 2016 as part of the Artist in Residence program. She had done similar portraiture projects in her hometown, Brockton, Mass., and most recently in Silicon Valley. In Newnan, she was met with both open arms and some suspicion — she was a white liberal from the North who had not spent much time in the South.

    Ms. Meehan was in Newnan for the big moments and the small. A fall high school homecoming. The reunion of a class from 1954 who attended an all-black high school. Sunday morning services at a church attended by descendants of early settlers. The 2016 election night that ushered in President Trump.

    She spent more than two years visiting Newnan, witnessing the kind of moments that offer hints about a community’s identity. Newnan was the right place for the project. “Newnan was ready to begin this conversation, and the evidence is that despite the tensions and difficulties, the people ultimately didn’t shut me down,” she said. “They kept inviting me back.”

    The post drew nearly 1,000 responses, most of them defending the sisters and accusing Mr. Shelnutt and others of being out-of-touch racists who were resistant to change and religious freedom. Mr. Shelnutt, who grew up in Newnan and owns a small construction company, denied being racist. “I do not feel like the two women in the photo are radical or dangerous,” he said. “I just do not think Newnan should be pushed to embrace Islam.”

    The backlash made the sisters realize that much of Newnan didn’t know Newnan. They said it felt especially painful to be singled out. “We have been here seven years,” said Aatika Shah, 22, “and now because they have never seen us and then saw our picture, they somehow think we don’t belong.”

    Ms. Meehan’s portraits, which will come down in June, have already had a lasting effect on the town. They have prompted deep conversations between people who had never met. “The truth is, these conversations are hard and uncomfortable and awkward but we need to lean into it,” said the Rev. David Jones II, the pastor of Newnan Presbyterian Church, who plans to use the art installation to organize a retreat about race, gender and identity this year. “We need to talk about who lives in our community and if they are different, why does that make us uncomfortable?”

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Newnam

  • Visages de la Silicon Valley, Fred Turner et Mary Beth Meehan -
    http://danactu-resistance.over-blog.com/2019/04/visages-de-la-silicon-valley-fred-turner-et-mary-beth-

    A l’automne dernier les éditions C&F, basées à Caen, ont publié un ouvrage d’une grande originalité, intitulé Visages de la Silicon Valley, un essai signé Fred Turner avec des photographies et récits de Mary Beth Meehan.

    Quand on lit ou entend ces deux mots , Silicon Valley, formant un lieu géographique célèbre en Californie, aussitôt l’on pense, technologies de pointe, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Facebook, et autres Apple, Tesla. Les gros bataillons de la super start-up nation nord-américaine que Macron voudrait bien installer en France. Certes sont bien là, le soleil, les innovations qui nous changent, parfois, la vie et les symboles de la réussite économique, concentrés sur quelques kilomètres carrés.

    Pourtant comme le savent les cinéphiles, depuis Quai des brumes (Carné, Prévert) il est utile de voir les choses cachées derrière les choses. Voilà pourquoi ce livre, Visages de la Silicon Valley, à la fois un superbe livre de photographies et un ensemble de textes, nous a particulièrement surpris. Que se cache-t-il derrière les mythes de la Silicon Valley où semblerait se construire le futur de notre monde, ou du moins de leur monde ? Quels sont les visages cachées derrière ceux des grands dirigeants des multinationales, diffusés en boucle dans tous les médias du monde ?

    S’il nous semble difficile de qualifier d’essai, l’introduction en une demi-douzaine de pages de Fred Turner, le livre nous offre, dans un beau format, un superbe reportage photos de Mary Beth Meehan. Chaque cliché est accompagné d’un petit récit le contextualisant. Photographe indépendante, son travail a été publié et exposé dans le monde entier. Nominée deux fois pour le prestigieux prix Pulitzer, elle anime aussi des conférences et ateliers à l’Université de Brown ou à l’école de Design de Rhode Island. Cela débute par Cristobal,vétéran de l’armée américaine durant sept ans, dont trois dans l’Irak en guerre, aujourd’hui agent de sécurité chez Facebook, il gagne une vingtaine de dollars de l’heure, et vu le prix de l’immobilier dans la Silicon Valley, il vit dans un abri au fond d’une cour à Mountain View ! Il constate que les immenses richesses des grandes entreprises ne ruissellent pas vraiment.

    Victor, 80 ans, qui survit dans une petite caravane, au milieu d’autres, non loin du magnifique campus de Google. Ni électricité, ni eau. Et aussi Mary, venue d’un village en Ouganda où elle enseignait l’anglais dans toute l’Afrique, venue rejoindre sa fille, et qui voudrait bien repartir : « C’est la solitude ici, tellement de solitude. »

    Ainsi se succèdent les portraits, magnifiques photographies et textes édifiants, matérialisme partout, spiritualité nulle part, argent coulant à flots mais pas pour tous. Précarité, pauvreté, invisibilité, et parfois peur, l’envers terrible de ce que l’on appelait jadis, le rêve américain !

    Dan29000

    Visages de la Silicon Valley
    Mary Beth Meehan, Fred Turner
    Éditions C&F
    2018 / 112 p / 25 euros

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Fred_Turner #Visages_Silicon_Valley #Silicon_Valley

  • Diversity On Display: Art Installation Sparks Conversation Among Newnan Residents | Georgia Public Broadcasting
    https://www.gpbnews.org/post/diversity-display-art-installation-sparks-conversation-among-newnan-residen

    If art is supposed to start conversations, then “Seeing Newnan” is working. The project mounted 19 large-scale photographs of residents on buildings around Newnan, Georgia.

    Artist Mary Beth Meehan’s large-scale photographs of residents in Newnan have exposed the shifting demographics of the town. A resident, who protested the image of two Muslim schoolgirls in the town square, got more than a thousand responses from others who embrace a more inclusive vision of the town.

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    13:59
    On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott speaks with Mary Beth Meehan.

    “Just because the public facing history that’s celebrated of a town like Newnan is of the old white people, it doesn’t mean that all of these other human beings haven’t been integral to that places founding and development,” Meehan said.

    The portraits are on display in Newnan until June 1, 2020.

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Podcast #Newnan

  • Enormous Images Link Past to Present and Future - Atlanta Jewish Times
    https://atlantajewishtimes.timesofisrael.com/enormous-images-link-past-to-present-and-future

    What began in 2016 as a two-week artist’s residency for photographer and educator Mary Beth Meehan became two years visiting Newnan, meeting townspeople and taking photographs. This is Meehan’s fourth such large-scale public installation; the first was in her hometown of Brockton, Mass.

    The “Seeing Newnan” exhibit, sponsored by the University of West Georgia School of the Arts and funded by the Hollis Charitable Trust, will remain in place through the spring.

    The photograph that we particularly wanted to see faces Jefferson Street, where it crosses Lee Street. To say that the portrait of Muslim sisters Zahraw and Aatika Shah generated controversy is an understatement. Examples of the vile reactions and heartening rebuttals can be found online.

    Zahraw and Aatika, the Georgia-born daughters of an engineer who emigrated from Pakistan in the 1980s, sat side by side, the former’s hijab in light shades of blue and red and the latter’s a deep purple. They were honor students at Newnan High School and today attend universities in Atlanta.

    Something in “Seeing Newnan” caused me to think about the diversity in Atlanta’s Jewish community. I wondered, what would a similar exhibit look like, displayed at, say, the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum or the Marcus Jewish Community Center?

    In no particular order, perhaps such an exhibit might include portraits of an Orthodox rabbi wearing a black suit, white shirt and black hat; a Reform rabbi wearing her kippah and tallit; an elderly man or woman surrounded by family photographs; a child preparing for a bar or bat mitzvah; a Holocaust survivor; an African American Jew, an LGBT Jew; Jews of Bukharian, Sephardic, Mizrachi, and Russian heritage; an interfaith family; a physically-challenged Jew and a developmentally-challenged Jew.

    You get the idea. Who would you choose?

    The city of Newnan bravely mounted an exhibit linking the town’s past to its present and future. The Jewish community of Atlanta might be well-served to similarly remind itself of its diversity.

    #Mary_Beth_Meehan #Newnan

  • Diversity On Display: Art Installation Sparks Conversation Among Newnan Residents | Georgia Public Broadcasting
    https://www.gpbnews.org/post/diversity-display-art-installation-sparks-conversation-among-newnan-residen

    If art is supposed to start conversations, then “Seeing Newnan” is working. The project mounted 19 large-scale photographs of residents on buildings around Newnan, Georgia.

    Artist Mary Beth Meehan’s large-scale photographs of residents in Newnan have exposed the shifting demographics of the town. A resident, who protested the image of two Muslim schoolgirls in the town square, got more than a thousand responses from others who embrace a more inclusive vision of the town.

    “Just because the public facing history that’s celebrated of a town like Newnan is of the old white people, it doesn’t mean that all of these other human beings haven’t been integral to that places founding and development,” Meehan said.

    The portraits are on display in Newnan until June 1, 2020.

    Get in touch with us.

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    Email: OnSecondThought@gpb.org
    Phone: 404-500-9457

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