Spinner Publications

The Photography of E. Milton Silvia

In his 30-year career at the Standard-Times (1950s to 1980s), Edward Milton "Milt" Silvia captured on film people and events from raging fires in the historic district to ships sinking in the Atlantic, from the worn hands of old men in prison to children smelling daffodils. His body of work is an insightful, photographic record of the times.

Silvia sought out local people in almost every conceivable setting--waterfront pubs, backstage at a burlesque show, playing in the park. A photojournalist extraordinaire, his love was the photo essay. When men were building the Braga Bridge in Fall River, he climbed to the top of the towering steel with his camera and shot the workers below. He documented immigrant families from the last days in their villages in the Azores, to their landings at Logan Airport and their emotional reunions with family members.

Silvia attributes his success to his mother who bought him paint sets to color with, to his school art teacher Paul Vancini who taught him to think about composition, and to his uncle in New York who was an amateur photographer. As a young man, he was also influenced by the stark realism of the Farm Security Administration photographers during the Depression. Born in New Bedford, he died at 90, in 2006.

Over the years, Silvia had many opportunities to go with big newspapers in New York or Boston, but his family was here and the pull was strong to stay. "My years at the Standard-Times were the best years of my life. I love the New Bedford area. Once you have the sea in you, it’s hard to let it go."

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