Thursday, July 24, 2008

Teach a man to fish ...

I just spent a few days up on British Columbia's Vancouver Island. We were in a town called Tahsis, to be exact, and Tahsis had the distinction of being a mill town which no longer had a mill (or many people) in it. This made for a pretty depressing little locale, but thankfully it was plopped on a gorgeous inlet of water surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of snowy, tree-lined peaks.

I went to Tahsis with friends to fish for salmon. It'd been a while since I'd gone anywhere specifically with the intent of fishing. As a kid I fished every weekend on the Finger Lakes of New York State for bass and pike and little perch and more. I'd done some salt water fishing in Ocean City, Md., during summer vacations. But spending a couple days on a boat with bait in the water nowadays wasn't something I longed to do -- until this weekend.

What does this all mean photographically? Well, I took pictures of course. Specifically I took pictures of dead fish. I didn't really think twice about it when taking the pictures on the boat and on the dock, I was just trying to document the catch, which included 8 salmon and 1 large halibut. Looking at the pictures now, I still see them as more beautiful than ... sadistic. I mean, there is the blood and guts of a living creature that I killed. But there's no waste going on here, the fish is all being happily consumed by us.

I've never hunted and I wonder whether I would do the same thing with say, a deer. There's so much luck and chance involved I imagine I would be caught up in the thrill of making a kill and would want to document it. But it feels so different in my mind, and I can watch a fishing show on TV but always change the channel when I see hunters going after big game.

Anyway, lots more pics from beautiful B.C. and the bountiful Pacific over at flickr.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sea what i mean?

I like how this photo of Traci taking a picture at the Monterey Bay Aquarium serves a couple different purposes, in my mind, photographically speaking.

First of all, those jellyfish there are easily the most photographed exhibit at the world class aquarium. It'd be hard for the biggest photo numbskull to miss in that room of glowing blue and orange. Perhaps that's why I wanted to miss, sort of. I'd already shot the jellies on a previous visit to Monterey, and on this day I watched as dozens of people moved in front of the glass to capture the same moment - suspended orange spacelike creature floats against blue background. Oooooh. Click. Click. Click. I think when Traci raised her own camera in front of me I came to the realization that capturing the moment meant capturing someone capturing the cliched moment. Especially when you take into consideration my second point.

You can't go hardly anywhere these days and find a tourist shooting film. It's done. With the rare exception of photo buffs on vacation, what you get is folks staring at LCD screens in front of monuments, mountains, vistas, jellyfish ... you name it. I'm not saying that's all horrible. Look at my stuff - it stopped being (all) captured on film several years ago. Digital is easier, cheaper, quicker, etc., so when I shoot film these days it's out of respect for the novelty and the beauty of the process. But I can't do it all the time.

I guess I just like how this pic sorta sums up this moment in our hyper-digital age. Maybe I'll make a series. It won't be hard to find the subject matter on our next trip.