New exhibition showcases the ebb and flow of Morecambe Bay’s changing fishing industry
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Their work, and that of a declining number of fishermen and women living around the Bay is pictured in a new exhibition which is now open at More Music in Morecambe, just a stone’s throw from the bay.
Going to the Sand features stunning images by photographer Tessa Bunney, who has spent three decades recording rural life in the UK and abroad.
By gaining the confidence of those who work in the fishing industry around Morecambe Bay over a three-year period Tessa was able to enjoy wide-ranging access to the kind of traditions that for some remain a way of life.
“As a photographer, sometimes people and places just get to you and Morecambe Bay has been like that for me,” Tessa said. “It was a chance meeting with two of Flookburgh’s handful of remaining fishermen four years ago that led to this series of photographs.”
Her images are varied. Some, taken at sea level, clearly show the hard graft of cockling, while others captured by state-of-the-art drones show the wide expanse of sand and treacherous channels the fisherman must navigate before they begin their back-breaking work.
“I have spent many days six miles out on the bay with the fishermen in all seasons and all weathers,” Tessa said. “I learnt about craams and riddles, tide tables and bye-laws, shrimping, musselling, cockling and fishing with all kinds of nets.
"These skills have been passed down through generations of fishermen, all with the backdrop of the beautiful but often harsh landscape of the bay.”
While she was working on the project the pandemic struck. Changes to fishing regulations which limit catches together with the retirement of several of those within the fishing community mean Tessa’s images have already become a historical record.
Going to the Sand can be viewed at More Music, 13-17 Devonshire Road, Morecambe, until December 17, Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm.
A limited edition book which contains images as well as recollections and anecdotes from Morecambe Bay’s fishing community is also available.
Going to the Sand, published by Another Place Press, is available from Tessa by emailing [email protected]