Sea-Fever blog


Dock-u-mentaries: Films about the Working Waterfront by Peter A. Mello

Dock-u-mentaries

New Bedford’s Working Waterfront Festival recently announced an interesting new program: Dock-U-Mentaries, a monthly film series presented in conjunction with New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. (download PDF flyer)

Films will be presented free of charge at 7pm on the third Friday of each month at the Corson Maritime Learning Center (33 William Street) in downtown New Bedford.

The first program takes place on Friday, January 21st featuring:

  • Pearl of the Atlantic – a 1960s era film produced by the New Bedford Seafood Council to promote scallops AND
  • A narrated slide show of the contemporary Port of New Bedford and its workers, presented by photographer Phil Mello.

Working Waterfront Festival and National Park team up for Dock-U-Mentaries – New Bedford Standard Times – Jan. 10, 2011



FotoFriday: Working Waterfront Portraits by Phillip Mello by Peter A. Mello

Modesto Caril, Clam House Worker, New Bedford by Phil Mello 2008

The name in the title might look familiar and that’s because the artist is my cousin. Today the New Bedford Whaling Museum is opening a show of Phil’s amazing collection of photographic portraits of New Bedford commercial waterfront workers. From the museum’s website:

Working Waterfront, Photographic Portraits focuses on local shoreside workers and their jobs: from fish cutter to purveyor, from welder to auctioneer, from lumper to inspector, as well as fishermen. Each person, each job, is vital to the daily operation of supplying seafood to market. All photographs were taken by Phillip Mello, mostly using a Mamiya RZ 67 camera with Kodak BW400cn Professional film. They 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 on the waterfront for over thirty-four years, currently as plant manager at Bergie’s Seafood. His photographs benefit from this closeness, and we are fortunate to have had these doors opened.

There’s an opening reception this evening after the Whaling Museum’s Annual Meeting and before/during their very popular After Hours Friday night social event. But in case you can’t make the event or have trouble getting to the gallery anytime soon, you can experience Phil’s work via the Whaling Museum’s Flickr page.

Henrique Chiquito, clean-up man at a New Bedford Fish House by Phil Mello 2008

Phil is also the president of the New Bedford Port Society which owns and operate the Seamen’s Bethel, which first came to fame as the Whalemen’s Chapel in Herman Melville’s classic American novel Moby-Dick, as well as the historic Mariner’s Home.

Reproductions of photographs in the exhibit are available via the Whaling Museum’s photography department by contacting photoresearch@whalingmuseum.org. Proceeds from their sale will be split evenly between the Whaling Museum and the New Bedford Port Society.

 Dave and Jim Tomassia, fish lumpers, working in the fish hold by Phil Mello 2008

It’s an amazing body of work that celebrates the spirit of the people who work anonymously on New Bedford’s commercial waterfront everyday. Thanks to Michael Lapides, the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Director of Digital Initiatives / Curator of Photography for giving the community the opportunity to get this inside look and for creating a historical document that captures an important part of New Bedford today. And thanks Phil, the Mello family is proud!

Make sure you check out the Whaling Museum’s blog, join their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter too!

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