What do you do, Giordano asks, when the only lifestyle you’ve ever known—an industrial one passed down by family, friends, and coworkers for generations—becomes obsolete? This question follows visitors as they explore the exhibition Shuttered: Images from the Fall of Bethlehem Steel at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Featuring original photos by Giordano, the exhibition comprises four areas—the mill, workers, the union, and the community.
When the mill fell into bankruptcy and finally shuttered operations in 2012, it displaced thousands of workers, and many lost the pensions, healthcare, and benefits they had been promised. Much of the labor force never recovered from the loss of the steady and well-paying jobs that the mill once offered, and the photographs of this hopelessness are haunting. “After decades of working in the mills, these people had the carpet pulled out from under them,” says Giordano, who began working on the project in 2004, capturing portraits of retired steelworkers as a reporter for the Dundalk Eagle.