The juxtaposition of a young girl and a prehistoric animal is both enigmatic and mythical – beauty meets the beast, but on her own terms this time. While the portrait of each girl shows a distinct individual, these images are united by a common theme: the tension between the future and the past. The girls are standing on the cusp of womanhood raising questions about their future identity-- who will they become? Ancient and venerable, the identity of the lobsters was determined ions ago. They know, and we know, exactly who they are.
The girls stand their ground with strength and handle the lobsters with determination: some cradle, some squirm, some raise it aloft triumphantly. The image of the lobster comes loaded with centuries of cultural tradition, from medieval bestiary books to decades of life in Eastern Canada’s rapidly changing fishing towns. Where once fishermen sold their catches across town, today they ship their lobsters halfway across the world; the town now tries to balance skyrocketing global demand against the increasing threats of ecological change and overfishing.
The pose in these portraits – a girl holding a lobster – also recalls the recent trend of “big catch” images on social media and dating apps of the digital age, in which men brandish their trophies. As the series builds and layers over multiple years, the portraits reveal the intimate process of growing up: learning to cope with strange, unpredictable situations, discovering how to hold on to the things that matter, and finding a voice. Taking their places among the women of our political era, these girls fill the frame and insist, “our stories matter too.”
St George is a traditional fishing community with 2800 people and not a single traffic light. Driving down Main Street for the first time, you might be surprised to learn that millions of pounds of farm-raised salmon and other marine life from the frigid waters are shipped worldwide. The town is situated in the Canadian province of New Brunswick on the Bay of Fundy, known for dramatic skies and the highest tides on earth.
The short maritime summers with long evenings have been cherished for generations. Light bends, time slows, families and friends gather around bonfires as the sun sets and the stars alight. These are the moments between the memories, the fabric that holds the patterns of each summer: wildness and tenderness, sun-glazed cheeks and dizzy laughter.
The pillars of the fishing industry are shifting in response to the pressures of overfishing. Independent fishermen now meet the demands of expanding global markets by scuba diving for sea urchins, harvesting periwinkles, and hauling in seaweed and lobsters.
As the town changes, I aim to reflect the collective memory of the people of St. George and capture these fleeting moments of work and play in a more enduring document.