The Center for Green Urbanism Tubman-Mahan Gallery is proud to host Maria Bryk’s photo essay: “Chesapeake Bay Watermen: The Art of the Catch”.
Please join us for the exhibition opening, Friday, June 15, 2012 6:30-8:30pm.
I was drawn in by the anecdotes of the first waterman I met; he told me about his day, which was entirely unique from the routine of my graphic design job. I lived in Talbot County for almost a year, a community saturated with Chesapeake Bay watermen. Increasingly intrigued by their trials and triumphs, I became friends with more and more watermen. They seemed amused and entertained by the curious young woman who would occasionally wake up at 3 am to go trot lining with crabbers, or troll with rockfish fishermen. It was only in 2010, five years after meeting that first waterman, that I began to bring my camera.
These images were shot over a two year span and in no way capture all of the intricacies and skill that go in to a waterman’s workday. This show captures a glimpse at how these men catch food from the bay; their dedication, knowledge, and skill, and some of what happens after the catch comes to shore.
There are seasons and techniques for catching blue fish, rockfish, bait fish, clams and oysters. There are regulations and fishing zones, limited fishing licenses and declining populations of catch. Pollution and overfishing increasingly encroaches on their livelihood. Each year is a struggle. But watermen stay out there. It is more than a job; it is a way of life.
About the artist:
Maria Bryk is a photographer and designer currently working in Washington, D.C. She moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland after college and fell in love with the watermen’s way of life. She has been photographing and fishing with watermen in and around Talbot County for over two years. This photo essay, “Chesapeake Bay Watermen: The Art of the Catch,” is the first comprehensive display of her passion for capturing the life of watermen on the Shore. A selection of photographs from “The Art of the Catch” was featured in Washingtonian magazine’s “Best of PhotoWeek” spread in December 2010. Her photojournalistic essays span a wide variety of subjects, including documenting places of worship in the District of Columbia, Parisian street culture and portraits from Carnival in Salvador, Brazil. Apart from her travels and independent work, Maria is a graphic designer and photographer for the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Huffington Post, abc.com and bbc.co.uk, among other publications. She was featured in Art202 Journal’s “Thirty-two under 32” as a local young artist and was a 2010 Artist Grant recipient from the D.C. Commission for the Arts and Humanities.