10,000 photos: How a Caraquet woman reeled in the photography opportunity of a lifetime

Three decades, 10,000 pics and a deep respect for the fish on her evening meal plate: That’s what Julie D’Amour-Léger, a photographer from northeastern New Brunswick, walked away with soon after exploring a major financial sector in her location — the fishing market.

D’Amour-Léger is in Fredericton till Saturday performing as an artist-in-residence at the Beaverbrook Artwork Gallery developing her experiences into a book. And not like through her study, this residency is on land.

In the course of her time on the h2o, D’Amour-Léger, who is from Caraquet, would generally explain to the fishermen that she was an artist-in-home on their boats.

She got started on the project by contacting fishermen, inquiring if she could join them on their boats. While most have been happy to have her come alongside, she stated there was a whole lot of waiting for great circumstances more than the a long time.

She started by shadowing smelt fishers in 2020 as they hauled their nets by way of a gap in 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 explained the crew would work all day from sunrise to sunset. (Julie D’Amour-Léger)

Following the initially 12 months of braving the components on land, at sea and on ice, she was hooked. She preferred to explore the different fisheries and photograph each and every a person, even if it meant overcoming her common sea seasickness. 

But it was all worth it.

“I wished to consider pictures of folks who are just executing what they’re executing, you know, as themselves,” said D’Amour-Léger. “The surroundings, the colours of their suits, all the devices — it is really unbelievable. They’re all distinct.”

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 internet of smelt by way of a hole in the ice in Pokesudie in northeastern N.B. This is in which D’Amour-Léger begun photographing different fisheries in 2020. (Julie D’Amour-Léger)

She has captured crab, lobster, tuna, smelt, scallop, herring, halibut, eel, shrimp and mackerel fishing — each and every with its very own specific timetable and necessities. She also photographed oyster farming and clam digging on or in close proximity to the shore. 

When she went shrimp fishing, she put in seven times on a boat as the crew embarked on a 35-hour run from Caraquet to Louisbourg, N.S.

Once they arrived, she mentioned the crew lifted the trawling nets, bagged the shrimp and took them to a freezer beneath deck operating 5 several hours at a time. They would sleep a few of hours and then get up to work for another 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 intended a seven-day journey to Louisbourg, N.S., for D’Amour-Léger and the crew. Jacques Gionet just retired from 45 years on fishing boats — 15 years fishing crab and 30 a long time as a shrimp fisherman. (Julie D’Amour-Léger)

“They under no circumstances rest additional than two several hours at a time,” recalled D’Amour-Léger.

But she said each individual journey was diverse. Out on a crab boat on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, she reported the crew worked all day very long from dawn to sunset and slept at night.

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 really like for pictures began at the age of 12 when she got her first 35-mm digital camera. She experienced two good friends with dark rooms at their residences, so she had the possibility to begin acquiring her individual photographs at an early age. That led her to review visual arts at the College of Moncton and then Concordia University in Montreal. 

Two men standing next to a fish twice their size
D’Amour-Léger snapped this photo 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 created the swap to digital photography 20 many years back, she explained, which allowed her to return to New Brunswick in 2007.

“A big city has a ton of methods but when I moved to Caraquet, I just wanted my digicam and my laptop to be able to get the job done,” she reported.

A single of D’Amour-Léger’s greatest takeaways from her adventures is the dedication of men and women in the fishing market, working long hrs, undertaking tough labour.

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

Given that returning, she’s narrowed down her favourite shots from 10,000 to about 120 in preparation for an exhibition at the Galerie d’art Bernard-Jean in Caraquet in November.

“I consider the toughness of this job is that I have my personal photographer’s eye on a lot of sorts of fishing,” reported D’Amour-Léger.

“It can be a way of living and I needed to see all of that…. They had been so pure, not seeking at me, they were just executing what they’re carrying out, and it was beautiful to see.”

Kenneth Proto

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