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Glazer's Camera

Melina Mara's Women Senators Series Exhibited in Smithsonian


In 2001, Seattle-based photojournalist Melina Mara began photographing the 13 female senators who held office that year. More than 35 of her black-and-white documentary photographs were exhibited recently at the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building.

"Changing the Face of Power: Women in the U.S. Senate," on view from May 22 through Sept. 7, presented images of 15 women senators at work on Capitol Hill: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and former Missouri Senator Jean Carnahan.

Mara traveled the country to photograph the senators, seeking to document the unprecedented leadership role of women in the Senate, both behind the scenes and before the microphones and lights. To complement her work, veteran White House journalist Helen Thomas and the Center for American Women and Politics provided additional background and a 30-minute audio/video presentation for the exhibition.