Thursday, August 10, 2017

Maine Lobsterman Before Dawn

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL:  I met Dan in 2011 as he docked and tied off the smallest lobster boat I’d ever seen. He called it his “skiff.” At the time, he was a young man still in school. He had recently been given privileges to set a small number of traps in the region serviced by Bass Harbor. I’d just been out photographing on a full size boat, and I had some idea how much hard work there was for a team of two to pull, bait and set traps. I was struck by Dan’s self-confidence and drive. I’d never seen a lobster boat like his before; the cabin on his skiff was almost narrower than his shoulders. I’ve been told that’s the way many young lobstermen begin.

It happened that the next day I was on the opposite shore of Bass Harbor, and I caught a picture of him in his skiff as he returned to port in the cove below me. When I saw him on the dock one more time, we exchanged emails so I could send him the picture, and we have remained in contact from time to time since. In six years he has traded his skiff for a full boat, married and begun a family and increased the number of traps he pulls, baits and sets, and he has a mate who works for him now. When he contacted me recently and asked to buy a print of the picture I’d taken of him in his skiff, I asked if he would trade it for a chance to photograph him at work. We met on the dock at 4 AM, and I gave him a large, framed photograph. This shot was taken as soon as there was enough light to make an image and 20 minutes before the sun rose. 

My thanks to Dan and Nate for letting me photograph them at their work.


Ginnie said...

OMG, Ted. That's a whopper of a trade. Good thinking and a win-win for both of you. I had a similar trade years ago when I took pics of a glassblower who wanted to pay me. I asked him if he would instead give Astrid a private lesson in glassblowing, which he did. It's something she and I will never forget (a dream of hers for a lifetime).

Emery Roth II said...

Definitely a good trade. In grade school science we blew glass over bunson burners to make hydrometers and magnifying glasses. Some time in the 70s the insurance company wouldn't allow them to do that anymore. We all loved it, and it made science our most popular class.