•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Monday, December 20, 2010

Herring Warehouses, No.6


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: What is it that lures me into this labyrinthine network of shacks? What makes it a fit subject for photography? Can a single photo tell the story, or does the story consist of the journey and the sensations it initiates and moments of feeling lost in an alien world? In order for me to have lobster on my plate in Connecticut, such places in Maine must exist - so many dark passages, so many rooms constantly being resupplied with herring, so many barrels and drums and a sea of salted herring waiting to be cut and stuffed in bait pockets to lure voracious crustaceans from hiding.

Traditions of coastal life live here and have flowed along these currents for 200 years, and the men who work here today are of the same families. It seems an odd discord, this world bumping against a culture that has grown transient, even i-Mobile, maybe rootless absent-minded with regard to the life of the planet. It is not only vacationers. Lobstermen with pickups and lobster boats, and now sometimes email and web sites, linger on Facebook, tweet and continuing the work of their grandparents, managing their resources. Or is the odd thing how rare the generational continuity has become elsewhere?

For many years I shot on the docks in Bass Harbor, barely looking inside the odd collection of shacks. Before I began working with HDR there was no point. I don't shoot with artificial light, and what interests me are the lurking shadows of this time-haunted place that is still part of yesterday and fits oddly with tomorrow.