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Mark and RichardBall 1991

Mark and Richard Ball, 1991.

Fishing for Generations

When I first came down to Hastings from London in 1991 to photograph the fishing community, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, says photographer John Cole. I wandered along the Stade asking fishermen if I could take their photos and, although many said yes, attempts at further conversation were generally futile. But I persisted and eventually won the trust of the men and women working in what is proportionally the UK’s second most dangerous profession.

What I initially imagined would be a one-day shoot turned into a two-year photographic obsession. And when we moved down to Hastings in 2000, I picked up where I had left off in 1992, in large part thanks to the encouragement and support of Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society.

Mark and Jamie Ball 2018

Mark and Jamie Ball 2018

The result is Fishing for Generations, an exhibition documenting over twenty years of taking photographs of Hastings fishing families. I feel that Fishing for Generations is an important record of an economically beleaguered industry, very possibly on the edge of extinction.

For many fishing families, there is hope that with continuing legislation in favour of Hastings’ under-10 metre fishing fleet, more young men and women will be able to make a living from the sea, thereby supporting local communities and supplying the freshest and most sustainably caught fish possible.

But many older fishermen now say that if economic and political circumstances do not change very soon, Hastings’ fishing fleet may soon become just another tourist attraction, rather than the vibrant fishing port it has been for almost a thousand years.

Shane Ball 2017

Shane Ball 2017

Please support Hastings’ fishing community by coming to the exhibition’s opening at Hastings Museum on Saturday 15 June, from 11am till 1pm.

And if you can’t make the opening, the exhibition will be there until 27 October. Your support of this exhibition will mean a great deal to our fishing community.

Posted 21:56 Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 In: Photography

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