Fleet

These are the first images of an ongoing photo essay about Hastings fishing fleet. It is the largest British beach-launched fishing fleets comprising over 20 small boats. They are launched from the shingle beach of the Stade in front of the Old Town when weather and quotas allow. There has been a fishing fleet in Hastings for over a thousand years, with many families tracing their fishing ancestry back for generations.

I will revisit the fleet over the next few years in different seasons and weather to engage with the people, boats and place. I am particularly interested in the following:

* traces left behind by recently completed labour and the dialogue these make with people absent from the photographic frame.

* the expectation of the return of the boats, again creating a dialogue with presence (on the beach) and absence (the boats at sea) in photography.

* the people who are the fishermen, shore crew and fishmongers.

* the aesthetics of the boats, many of which are traditionally wooden-built and designed for beach launching.

My first visit was to familiarise myself with the Stade and the boats themselves during Easter 2007. My thanks go to Dave who introduced me to the culture and history of Hastings fishing fleet.
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