Deanne Fitzmaurice photographs the workday and the intimate, often blending the two together in startling ways. In 2005, she won a Pulitzer Prize for her photo series featuring the recovery of a 9-year-old Iraqi boy named Saleh, who was the victim of an IED. Her photos have been featured by everyone from Netflix to National Geographic. If you own a computer with Windows 10, her photos are among those they cycle through as backgrounds and lock screens.
Her extraordinary skills are now being celebrated by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) in honor of Women’s History Month.
In a joint effort with Jobs to Move America, the NYCDOT has spread an exhibition across two of their plazas in the Financial District of Manhattan. 16 of Fitzmaurice’s photographs, together with narrative descriptions, highlight women in the fields that build a city: work-site supervisors, train manufacturers, electrical engineers, welders, and bridge builders. All subjects are real, invited to be visible by Fitzmaurice’s skilled lens and embedded in history by being displayed alongside archival images of WWII-era women in factories and construction.
While the two displays make a point to feature the opportunities that exist and the progress that has been made, there is a subtext to the photos and the stories of these real women that can’t be missed: they all, particularly the women of color, have faced sex-specific hurdles in their workplaces. Women Can Build, Jobs to Move America, and the NYCDOT specifically call out companies and labor unions to examine their own practices for any ways to improve the opportunities for women and minorities.
While March is Women’s History Month, Women Can Build will be on view until mid-May. One site is at the intersection of Water Street and Gouverneur Lane. The other is at Water and Pearl. Check it out before it’s gone.