Traditional fishing and pictures
The survival of traditional fishing is very hard nowadays and in big cities it is perhaps almost a miracle. Huge
pressures of all kinds are inflicted on these men, women and their communities, making their fishing activities
harder to be carried out and sometimes even impossible.
Environmental degradation is a deadly enemy of those who depend directly on nature to survive. Large urban
concentrations destroy coastal ecosystems affecting the fish stock right on places where those fishermen are
able to reach for their own subsistence. How many times the boats return to land with empty nets and the
dragging of fishing nets at the beach yields only trash, cans and plastic bottles. Fishermen guarantee that
some years ago fishing was much more bounteous .
Real estate speculation drives fishermen away from the beaches because the places where they live at are
usually pretty and sought after areas. Many times fishermen are forced to live far away from the sea or in
slums because on places near the beach the rents and housing reach extremely high prices.In order to
arrive at the beach on time to go to the sea the fisherman needs to leave home at early hours and walk very
long distances to arrive at the fishermen colony. Sometimes they have to be restricted to a nook of the
beach because almost the whole area is taken by condos and holiday homes.
Those are simple men, many of them are fishermen sons or grandsons and their kids may not follow the same
profession. In general the fishermen enjoy talking about their work and are proud of their knowledge of the
ocean and fishing. They are aware of the problems faced by their kind, the environmental problems the world
faces today, and many of them seem to have the notion that environment protection, besides being vital to
all of us, may be an important ally to their communities and their causes. They are men and women who have
qualities and weaknesses just like all of us.
But what drove me to take pictures of fishermen was, first of all, the pleasure of photographing in the hope of
capturing light and its hues and the shapes of the world, trying to imprison them within the photographic image.
The fact that I enjoy being close to the sea, to the beach and to nature helps me a lot in my wanderings in
search for pictures.
The facts above are a small part of the little I've learned about traditional fishing. Those and many other facts
are there for whoever may be interested in seeing them, listen to them and, the most difficult part, for whoever
can understand them. Along with the images, those facts, even if not explicit, might draw an important and
powerful picture of the communities and/or places captured in photograph.
Many pictures have been taken having the sea, fishing and fishermen as subject. That may be one of the most
photographed themes in the world. Some people even say that there are "too many images about fishing". That
may be true. But the ocean will always be fascinating, powerful and mysterious to us, and along with the people
and the actual or fictional beings that live there, it will always be praised in songs, paintings, photographs, or
simply admired. Nowadays, especially due to the internet, there is an overflow of images on all sorts of themes
being spread around the world, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Being at the beach, or close to the waves and the ocean is very pleasant even if you are not able to take a
single picture. Images might be similar, but they are never the same, they might be bad, good or even excellent.
You never know! Only by taking pictures one might have a chance of taking "the photo".
I believe that pictures end up reflecting the photographer's opinions and dreams even if he doesn't mean to do
so. Pictures are a bit magical, full of revelations and surprises just like fishing and with an infinite horizon just
like at sea. When we take pictures we add our own ideas and feelings, many times without realizing it. Whoever
looks at them will interpret them through their personal point of view. Image is a universal language subject
to personal interpretations.