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Roberta Varusilaite, At Sea: A Portrait of a Scottish Fishing Community


Object connections:

User collections Re·Think Migration by marre986
Gallery locationQH (Floor plans)

Object details:

Object ID ZBA6906
Description Photographer Paul Duke’s ‘At Sea: A Portrait of a Scottish Fishing Community’ is a series of 32 portraits of men and women working in the Moray Firth fishing community on the North East coast of Scotland, shot on location in harbours, shipyards, factories and sheds between 2009 and 2012. The series presents all ages and gender, in a community where women are equal to men, but also all types of work, from ship painters, welders, joiners, skippers, engineers, to dockers and the individuals on the fish processing line. Roberta Varusilaite, an Eastern European immigrant in her twenties, works in a large fish-processing business in Fraserburgh, where her speciality is shellfish. Duke portrayed these individuals at a time when they faced significant economic and social challenges with the decline of their industry. This project is about identity, belonging and tradition, and how the sea is central to these. By capturing a disappearing community, Duke is both revisiting the past and charting change. This merging of tradition and modernity is at play in the medium too, as Duke shot the series with analogue technology using a Pentax 6x7, while the images were processed digitally. Using film allows for subtlety of tonality and detail, but also added consideration, deliberation and selectivity, inherent to the medium. The series’ aesthetic sobriety evokes the Dutch Golden Age and painters like Vermeer, and also the tradition of Victorian photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron and David Octavius Hill.
Date made 2012

Artist/Maker Duke, Paul
Place made United Kingdom
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Copyright of the artist
Materials Pearl paper; Giclée print
Measurements Overall: 837 mm x 609 mm
  • Roberta Varusilaite, At Sea: A Portrait of a Scottish Fishing Community (ZBA6906)
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