•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Morning Comes to Consciousness


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Lunenburg lies across the neck of a rocky peninsula on Nova Scotia's ocean coast. A single road leads out onto the headland to the tiny, fishing community of Blue Rocks which sits perched on ledge as far out as one can build. The center of Blue Rocks is marked by a crossroad with an old, wooden church, but beyond that Blue Rocks is little more than a collection of piers and shacks, a handful of small homes clinging to the rock at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Roads branch from the Blue Rocks Road along low ridges, then turn to dirt and then to ruts with grass down the center to provide access to a scattering of small, vacation houses and fishing shacks on the various small bays and along the northeast shore, but nothing lies further out on the low-lying, rocky headlands than Blue Rocks.

We woke around four AM on the first morning of the workshop and were at the end of Blue Rocks Road before sunrise. One of the joys of this workshop was the energy and seriousness of purpose of everyone in the group. It's hard to believe that when I shot this we barely knew each other.

I set my tripod up on a tall flat rock to get as much separation as possible between the lobsterman's motor boat and the bit of island behind it. The land beyond is part of the headland and encircles a shallow cove. Lobstermen use small boats like this to get to the fishing boats which they anchor off shore and take to the open sea. We'd seen the lobsterman leave shortly after we arrived, and one of my workshop colleagues made a great silhouette of him walking along the dock with his lunch bucket. I almost didn't notice his boat passing in the background of this shot ten or fifteen minutes later. In a few minutes the sun will appear behind these rocks. Low clouds blocked much of the sunrise, but two of my colleagues got stunning shots anyhow. Another great joy of workshops is seeing the shots I didn't see.