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City of Champions: A Portrait Of Brockton

Meehan's portraits hang from a building at 214 Main Street in Brockton, Mass. (Courtesy of Mary Beth Meehan)

Meehan's portraits hang from a building at 214 Main Street in Brockton, Mass. (Courtesy of Mary Beth Meehan)

Mary Beth Meehan is a freelance photojournalist. She grew up in Brockton, the great-granddaughter of Irish immigrants. At 18, she left for Amherst College. It was there she first realized how outsiders viewed Brockton. Upon hearing that her father was a firefighter, one of her friends said, “Isn’t that adorable.”

Meehan, in a certain sense, was always an outsider. But she gained access to people’s most private internal stories through her camera. She traveled the world photographing immigrants, refugees and war victims.

Then she started hearing about a war of sorts going on right in her hometown. A war between old Brockton and new. Meehan went back and trained her lens on Brockton, and its residents, as she saw them.

The pictures are larger than life — each more than 12 feet wide by 12 feet high. They hang as a public installation on the sides of abandoned buildings in downtown Brockton. The project is aptly titled, “City of Champions: A Portrait of Brockton.”

Mary Beth Meehan recently took us on a walking tour.

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