August, somewhere in the Mediterranean coast
5 pm, the sun hits heavily while I look for a location to do the photo shooting.
He is in his sixties, repairing a net with a wooden needle. His face with deep wrinkles and tanned by wind and sun everyday at work, no matter what the weather may be.
“Can I take some pictures with the net?,” I ask.
“Not of me,” he answers bluntly.
“No, I want only the nets.”
“Thank you very much.”
I leave him with his net and look for the one I want to use in my photos.
The net is dirty white, with some stains from daily use and an inspiring pattern. The contrast is not very good to display the jewels, but it is perfect to show the idea I have in mind. It is a knotted design used traditionally, a metaphor of a very old job, one that has been the livelihood of communities alongside the whole Mediterranean coast. A worn colour, as the suffering required for this job, as the skin of seafarers. The net seems abandoned, piled with some wooden boxes and remains of other nets. Another metaphor, of the decadence that the overexploitation brings to the communities in the coast and the sea herself (she is the sea, remember?)
This editorial is a reflection on sustainability and the sea. Our seas are suffering, the ocean is suffering, and we have to live up to the challenge. Maybe looking at how the communities have traditionally lived with the sea, taking only what they needed and caring about marine life and how to preserve that delicate equilibrium. Maybe they used other terms, but the idea was there.
I start with the white net. Then over to the terracotta coloured floats used for fishing nets. Cats rest half asleep among piles of them. Curiosity is not so big as to make them move or do something else other than open a sleepy eye. The terracotta colour make a much better contrast with the jewels, although the strings of floats are not as appealing as the nets.
Finally, I move to the last scenario, the mix of net remains with a rusty anchor. The place is dirty and much more decadent than the others.
The white net represents traditional life in the old little villages by the Mediterranean coast. Nets are made of simple knots, one next to the other, all connected. Each knot is important and each one has a role by itself and within the net. Only when the intricate union of simple units becomes apparent, one realises the complexity of the balance within the net.
The terracota floats represent the evolution of society, fishing techniques and all the possible bad choices associated to this revolution. Floats are bigger, more obvious and connected just to other two floats, left and right. Their balance is simpler and more deceiving.
The net remains and the rusty anchor embody the result of the crash and destruction caused by a bad and irresponsible relationship with nature. The evolution of the previous, without thinking or caring about the consequences. It could have been beautiful, but with bad decisions come the catastrophic consequences. Sharp rusty edges mixed up with nylon ropes of different colours and sizes, broken, piled up and forgotten because their purpose is no longer there. With their strength and original shape they have also lost their raison d’être. None of the ropes or rusty tools are identifiable; instead, only chaos and decay.
This editorial feels bittersweet. On one side, we can’t give up on hope. We must be able to revert all the destruction we have caused. On the other side, there is so much to recover…
Tradition, technic and decadence as a background for jewels. So much contrast. So much to change. So little time. But we are able, and it does depend on us.
I leave here my visual reflection.
TO BE CONTINUED... In social media