10,000 pictures: How a Caraquet girl reeled within the images alternative of a lifetime

10,000 pictures: How a Caraquet girl reeled within the images alternative of a lifetime

Three years, 10,000 pictures and a deep respect for the fish on her dinner plate: That is what Julie D’Amour-Léger, a photographer from northeastern New Brunswick, walked away with after exploring a main financial sector in her area — the fishing trade.

D’Amour-Léger is in Fredericton till Saturday working as an artist-in-residence on the Beaverbrook Artwork Gallery growing her experiences right into a e-book. And in contrast to throughout her analysis, this residency is on land.

Throughout her time on the water, D’Amour-Léger, who’s from Caraquet, would typically inform the fishermen that she was an artist-in-residence on their boats.

She bought began on the undertaking by contacting fishermen, asking if she may be a part of them on their boats. Whereas most have been glad to have her come alongside, she stated there was plenty of ready for good situations over time.

She started by shadowing smelt fishers in 2020 as they hauled their nets by means of a gap within the ice.

A overhead look at two fishermen in orange suits hauling a cage out of the water
When D’Amour-Léger went crab fishing on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, she stated the crew would work all day from dawn to sundown. (Julie D’Amour-Léger)

After the primary yr of braving the weather on land, at sea and on ice, she was hooked. She needed to discover the completely different fisheries and {photograph} each, even when it meant overcoming her normal sea seasickness. 

Nevertheless it was all price it.

“I needed to take footage of people who find themselves simply doing what they’re doing, you realize, as themselves,” stated D’Amour-Léger. “The surroundings, the colors of their fits, all of the gear — it is unbelievable. They’re all completely different.”

A man in orange waders holding a net full of fish. He is standing in front of a hole in the ice.
Disma Plourde hauls a web of smelt by means of a gap within the ice in Pokesudie in northeastern N.B. That is the place D’Amour-Léger began photographing numerous fisheries in 2020. (Julie D’Amour-Léger)

She has captured crab, lobster, tuna, smelt, scallop, herring, halibut, eel, shrimp and mackerel fishing — every with its personal particular schedule and necessities. She additionally photographed oyster farming and clam digging on or close to the shore. 

When she went shrimp fishing, she spent seven days on a ship because the crew launched into a 35-hour run from Caraquet to Louisbourg, N.S.

As soon as they arrived, she stated the crew lifted the trawling nets, bagged the shrimp and took them to a freezer under deck working 5 hours at a time. They might sleep a few hours after which rise up to work for one more 5.

A body of water with a boat in it. The boat has a large green net filled with shrimp hanging off the side.
Shrimp fishing meant a seven-day journey to Louisbourg, N.S., for D’Amour-Léger and the crew. Jacques Gionet simply retired from 45 years on fishing boats — 15 years fishing crab and 30 years as a shrimp fisherman. (Julie D’Amour-Léger)

“They by no means sleep greater than two hours at a time,” recalled D’Amour-Léger.

However she stated each journey was completely different. Out on a crab boat on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, she stated the crew labored all day lengthy from dawn to sundown and slept at evening.

A woman in yellow waders  and a teal toque reaching into a lobster cage with one hand and throwing a red lobster with the other.
Michèle Garceau, captain of this lobster boat, pictured at Miscou Island eradicating lobsters from the traps. (Julie D’Amour-Léger)

D’Amour-Léger’s love for images began on the age of 12 when she bought her first 35-mm digital camera. She had two associates with darkish rooms at their properties, so she had the chance to start out growing her personal pictures at an early age. That led her to check visible arts on the College of Moncton after which Concordia College in Montreal. 

Two men standing next to a fish twice their size
D’Amour-Léger snapped this photograph when fishermen James Stewart, standing closest to the fish, and Raymond Lanteigne caught a 750-pound tuna north of Miscou Island. (Julie D’Amour-Léger)

She made the swap to digital images 20 years in the past, she stated, which allowed her to return to New Brunswick in 2007.

“A giant metropolis has plenty of sources however after I moved to Caraquet, I simply wanted my digital camera and my laptop to have the ability to work,” she stated.

Considered one of D’Amour-Léger’s greatest takeaways from her adventures is the dedication of individuals within the fishing trade, working lengthy hours, doing onerous labour.

Three men standing a trough filled with gaspereau fish.
Over three years, D’Amour-Léger photographed a number of fisheries. This was taken whereas fishing for gaspereau on the Pokemouche River on the Acadian Peninsula. (Julie D’Amour-Léger)

Since returning, she’s narrowed down her favorite pictures from 10,000 to round 120 in preparation for an exhibition on the Galerie d’artwork Bernard-Jean in Caraquet in November.

“I feel the energy of this undertaking is that I’ve my very own photographer’s eye on many sorts of fishing,” stated D’Amour-Léger.

“It is a way of life and I needed to see all of that…. They have been so pure, not me, they have been simply doing what they’re doing, and it was lovely to see.”

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