Critical Mass: Michael Mergen

Looking at portfolios from Critical Mass 2011…

Some think the United States is a pretty sophisticated country. We have the ability to put a man on the moon, create the iPad, and change the way the world communicates, but Michael Mergen’s project, Vote, shows just how far we have to go in the world of voting. His images make one wonder how anyone gets elected fairly, yet at the same time, tells us that we really are a country of communities, all working hard to create the American dream.

Based in Providence, RI, Michael earned a BFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2000. He began his photography career as a photojournalist and soon after, began working for national newspapers and newswire services in Boston and then his hometown of Philadelphia. Following a two year artist fellowship with the Philadelphia based Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Michael began pursuing his art work. He is an assistant professor of art/photography at Longwood University, Farmville.

Photographed on Election Day from 2008-2010, Vote investigates the spaces where the ideals of our political system meet the mundane realities of participatory democracy. The photographs consider the collision of private and public, consumer and citizen, and the incongruity between the functionality of the spaces and that of the voting booths.

Precinct 9, Shelby Township, MI

Precinct 22020, Corona, CA

Precinct 10, Saugus, MA

Precinct 9002139A, Valley Village, CA

Precinct 207, Meridian, OK

Early Voting #16, Reno, NV

Precinct 55, Foster, OK

Ward 40, Precinct 32, Philadelphia, PA

District 4-2, Murfreesboro, TN

Early Voting #8, Las Vegas, NV