Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America

Seeing Silicon Valley book cover

May 24th, 2021 - 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm PDT

Acclaimed photographer Mary Beth Meehan and Stanford Professor of Communication Fred Turner join forces to give an unseen view of the heart of the tech world. 

It’s hard to imagine a place more central to American mythology today than Silicon Valley. To outsiders, the region glitters with the promise of extraordinary wealth and innovation. But behind this image lies another Silicon Valley, one segregated by race, class, and nationality in complex and contradictory ways. Its beautiful landscape lies atop underground streams of pollutants left behind by decades of technological innovation, and while its billionaires live in compounds, surrounded by redwood trees and security fences, its service workers live in their cars.

With arresting photography and intimate stories, Seeing Silicon Valley makes this hidden world visible. Instead of young entrepreneurs striving for efficiency in minimalist corporate campuses, we see portraits of struggle—families displaced by an impossible real estate market, workers striving for a living wage, and communities harmed by environmental degradation. If the fate of Silicon Valley is the fate of America—as so many of its boosters claim—then this book gives us an unvarnished look into the future.

The event is co-sponsored by The McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, The Digital Civil Society Lab at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and Stanford University Libraries.


  • Mary Beth Meehan - Photographer known for her large-scale, community-based portraiture centered around questions of representation, visibility, and social equity in the United States. She lives in New England, where she has lectured at Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
  • Fred Turner - Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication at Stanford. He has written widely on the culture and history of Silicon Valley.