Melina Mara

Melina Mara, a staff photographer at The Washington Post, covers the National Political beat.  Born in Englewood, New Jersey, Melina is the daughter of a CBS cameramanand an always motivating and supportive Italian mother. She studiedpolitical science at Sarah Lawrence College, and after being disillusionedwith law school became a teacher. Refocusing her career on photojournalism,Mara attended University of Missouri School of Journalism as a graduatestudent. Since then, she has worked for newspapers and magazines around thecountry, and is presently, since 2004, a staff photographer at theWashington Post, working on the national political beat and generalassignment — she’s been documenting the American political scene fromCapitol Hill, to the campaign trail, to political issues effectingAmerican’s coast to coast. While a Seattle-based photojournalist, she beganphotographing the 13 women in the US Senate in 2001, continuing the projectas their numbers grew to 14 in 2003. Mara traveled the country to documentthis defining period in the history of US politics. At a time when accessto national politicians is increasingly controlled, Mara persuaded thesenators to allow her to document the unprecedented role of women in theSenate, both behind the scenes and before microphones and lights. Changingthe Face of Power: Women in the US Senate, a documentary work of the 14female senators at work on Capitol Hill, opened at the SmithsonianInstitution in May 2003 and is presently a traveling exhibit. The book wasreleased in Fall 2005.

Featured Work

WASHINGTON, DC-January 19: During a busy day for a US House Representative, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) is advised by staff before an Armed Services briefing, meets a visiting delegation, and has a rare moment of piece in his Capitol Hill office, Wednesday January 19, 2011. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)


Women in politics

Women in politics

Overall, the number of women elected, while rising through much of the 1990s, has hit a plateau. Advocates are redoubling their efforts to elect more women this fall.