Capturing the spirit of American welders and shipbuilders

By Ann Thompson, Hypertherm
Posted on 12/04/2018 in SPARK the blog, Plasma cutting

It isn’t often you see a restaurant’s walls lined with portraits of welders and shipbuilders, but that’s exactly what I saw last month when a group of us stopped for dinner following a visit to Hypertherm customer Lyman-Morse. Turns out the photos were there to promote a project called Southgate Faces: Faces & Voices from an American Shipyard.

A celebration of shipyard workers, Southgate Faces is also an exciting online art exhibition created by photographer, Heather Perry, and audio engineer, Hopper McDonough. To date, the Bath, Maine locals have photographed and interviewed over 60 Bath Iron Works’ employees and the project has culminated in beautiful portraits and vivid recordings of several welders, pipe fitters, and shop stewards among others working at the yard.

Typically catching the shipbuilders on their lunch breaks, Perry and McDonough, asked the same six questions of each individual, including what makes a “good” and “bad” day at work. Mike, a welder at Bath Iron Works, keeps time by the yard’s whistle and shared that welds have to be done right, otherwise “people can get hurt.” While Connie, a Deck Planner with a family legacy of shipbuilding, enjoys the day-to-day challenges of her work, explaining, “You have to figure things out; it’s like being a detective.”

These photos and stories are pretty fascinating. They really drive-home the hard work each shipbuilder puts into building a vessel and then the pride behind completing the job. You can see the people and listen to their stories at




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