Project Adaptations

When I began to formulate the idea of a Jersey Shore project I thought I could capture the essence of the Jersey Shore. I soon realized that there are so many facets to life on the shore that I needed to narrow it down. As I started to spend more and more time at the commercial fishing docks I realized that here was my story. Sometimes as photographers we want to just photograph everything so nothing is missed. The need to narrow the focus of the project becomes evident as we progress. That is not to say we should discard the others areas that captured our imagination – just perhaps compartmentalize them, put them on the shelf for another time. By focusing on the commercial fishing industry that is a major part of the economic engine of Long Beach Island I found many subjects that I needed to capture to complete the story. There are, of course, the boats themselves and the people who work on them: captains, mates, and crew. There is the activity in the packhouse, whether unloading scallops or tuna or the many other varieties of fish that come in to port. There are also the details such as the colorful nets, large drags, ropes, etc. By necessity, photo projects are long term as things are different every day and every season. It takes several months to become comfortable with the subject matter and for the subjects to become comfortable with the photographer. I like Dorothea Lange’s approach to get to know the people that are subjects for your project. It’s also good to ask a lot of questions as your understanding will inform how you photograph. These photos are of aspects of the life on the boats as seen through my lens.

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