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Mark Maio (b. 1955), Wall Street, From the series, Against the Grain (1989-2005), 1991; Carbon pigment inkjet print, 1/5, image: 15 ¼ inches x 23 inches; Gift of Mark Maio and Catherine McClelland, DVM, 2017

Mark Maio (b. 1955), Wall Street, From the series, Against the Grain (1989-2005), 1991; Carbon pigment inkjet print, 1/5, image: 15 ¼ inches x 23 inches; Gift of Mark Maio and Catherine McClelland, DVM, 2017

This is one of the most evocative images from Mark Maio’s historically significant photography series documenting the grain industry in Buffalo and along the Great Lakes. He started by photographing Irish immigrant dock workers loading and unloading grain from the hold of lake freighters. In 1825, Buffalo became the Erie Canal’s port terminus, which made it a central shipping center to serve the eastern United States and Europe. In the mid-19th century, Buffalo Harbor was home of the first grain elevator to use mechanical technology to move and store grain. In addition to photographing Irish grain scoopers who lived in the Old First Ward, Maio photographed other workers engaged in shipping and dock work, who befriended him and invited him to their homes and union meetings. His respect for their hard work is reflected in an unparalleled expression of this bygone profession through the dramatic rhythm of black shadows and grand scale.

Maio has worked in clinical medical and ophthalmic photography. In 1999, he developed the first high-resolution digital imaging system in ophthalmology. In 2009, he founded the Digital Imaging Institute, a member-based educational organization to further the knowledge of imaging in medicine, science and research. He also leads workshops for photographers interested in industrial heritage and architecture at abandoned sites. —NW