Photographer Antonia Small is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. These images are from her project ‘Fishermen of Port Clyde’. To see Antonia’s body of work click on any image.
Part chronicle, part fine art, I began this series of black and white images in 2009 and continue today. Inspired by the ground fishermen who, in an effort to save their fishery, came together to develop the first Community Supported Fishery (CSF), I asked if I could witness their work as they sought solutions to the overwhelming issues they faced.
My work began on the wharf: fishermen off-loading catch, measuring, weighing, tallying quota under government surveillance. I then followed them to the processing plant where cleaning, cutting, packaging, freezing took place. Later, I began to include other fishermen of Port Clyde and their families; images of trap day on Monhegan, and details of the harbor. I got calls to see the Skipper hauled out for cleaning, crabs boiling on the coldest day, nets being mended, piglets being born, I invited myself to a burial at sea, went lobstering (to pay the groundfishing costs), and attended a wedding baptism.
Few sane people opt to do what these people do. You have to be a little crazy to cast off the dock lines in the middle of the night and head out into the watery unknown, with unpaid bills and beating hearts ashore, awaiting your success. You have to have a good deal more faith in one day than most folks muster in a lifetime. And that’s before all the odds are stacked against you – then: you have to make lemonade.
I am not a fisherman, nor a scientist, nor a journalist, nor a policy-maker. I am however, someone who loves sea-infused places and people. I wonder about the relationships people have with place. These images won’t teach you specifically how these men have adjusted to overfishing and environmental changes. They aren’t meant to. They are meant to offer a glimpse into the hearts of people willing to set aside their personal gain for the sake of future sons and daughters, the ones they may never meet.
Port Clyde, Maine, USA
By Antonia Small