While you were sleeping…


At the end of last year, I began shooting a photo-essay based around the fishing industry on the Isle of Man. The project so far has concentrated on the crew members of the Port St Mary based scallop dredger, Sara Lena – skipper, Tony ‘Toad’ Watterson, his brother Juan, and Chris Overs – three of the kindest, most genuine and helpful men I’ve ever met.
There’s been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the Isle of Man scallop industry of late; larger boats have come in from further afield, and there have been accusations of overfishing and ‘raping of the seabeds’. One of Tony’s first questions was whether my project has any political motivation – I assured him that it has not. I just think that anyone tucking into that £30 starter in a high-class London restaurant needs to realise where those scallops came from, and how they got there.

I’d originally planned to shoot this entire project on black and white film and had packed ten rolls of Kodak Tri-X 400, however, as soon as I stepped onto the Sara Lena, I recognised that colour film was the way forward. Luckily I’d also stuffed five rolls of Agfa Vista into my bag, ‘Just in case’. All the images here were made using an Olympus MjuII compact and a Nikon F4 with 50mm and 28mm lenses. I will also be using a Hasselblad 501cm for portraits.

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  1. Kim

    Phil, I love how your subject matter can be so dramatically diverse – you could be shooting migrants in Calais, beautiful naked ladies or fishermen, yet your individual style and motif remain true. This is what makes you a great artist and photojournalist. Well done 🙂


  2. Fucking awesome work Phil, the images really convey the life onboard. I’ve been reading about your struggles with sea sickness too, well done for sticking with it, I look forward to more of this.


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