In Back Bay, a rural fishing village in Atlantic Canada, the daily routine revolves around twenty-six foot tides and the lobster harvests synchronize the annual calendar. The two eleven-week seasons begin with a tradition of extended families gathering on the wharf in the frigid pre-dawn. Excitement, laughter and chatter fill the moments before one last prayer and repeated pleas to “be careful.” Finally, a horn announces the 6am rush to drop the traps into the depths.
It was in this setting that I began to photograph a girl and a lobster, echoing the tempo along the shores of the Bay of Fundy. I photographed seventeen local girls annually, charting their growth in a series of two to six portraits of each one. Using the bay at dusk as a common backdrop, each girl chose her own outfit and the way she held her lobster. Some girls were cautious with the crustaceans, while some were proud and still others nonchalant.
The cycles of this ancient tidal landscape and the shifting light offers a contrast to the fleeting stages of girlhood. I hope to reveal something of each girl’s character as she takes stock of a sea creature symbolizing both the familiar and the unfathomable. By creating this series, I study identity, femininity and how family, local culture and the pervasive influences of society at large manifest themselves in each girl over time.