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Of all the political portraits I’ve looked at, there is one collection I keep returning back to. It is a series called Changing The Face of Power: Women in the U.S. Senate by photojournalist Melina Mara.
The series is described this way on her website:
Melina Mara began photographing the 13 women senators in 2001 and continued the project as their number grew to 14 in 2003. In focused bursts, Mara traveled the country to document this defining period in the history of U.S. politics. Whether behind the scenes or before mikes and lights — at a time when photographic access to national politicians is increasingly controlled — Mara persuaded a majority of the senators and their staffs to allow her to document the unprecedented role of women in the Senate.
Besides the unusual access that was afforded and the dimension of seeing these women through a woman’s eyes, I think the images are particularly enhanced by the way they are situated in time.
I invite your interpretation and analysis of this February ’03 shot, which is one of my favorites. To help out a bit, I’m also providing you with the caption:
First-term Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) pauses outside a hearing room to take questions from reporters in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. Cantwell, a high-tech millionaire, worked as a marketing executive of Real Networks, a Seattle Internet audio software company, before running for her Senate seat. Cantwell previously served in the Washington state House from 1987 to 1992 and won election to the U.S. House in 1993 but was defeated for re-election in 1994.
For more on Melina Mara and this collection, see:Melina Mara website. Digital Journalist feature on Women In The Senate including video clips with Melina Mara here. To purchase prints or posters, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
(image: Melina Mara. February 2003. Washington, D.C. melinamara.com)