When the Pilgrims sailed across Duxbury Bay on their way to Plymouth, Massachusetts, they were able to feed themselves from the land. So writer Rowan Jacobsen asked the question, what would modern-day harvesters be able to bring in? When Yankee Magazine published Rowan’s story, they wanted accompanying imagery that would capture the reality of a hunt, so they asked Boston photographer Carl Tremblay to accompany a live hunt and harvest through Duxbury Bay.
For the shoot, Carl would be accompanying oysterman and Mayflower descendent Skip Bennett, as he and his colleagues set out for a hunt, lobster catch, and oyster harvest. Carl was excited to set out on this photo project not only because of the thrill of participating firsthand in a harvest, but also because he loves creating series that have a great narrative arch.
It was a great narrative with inspiring location, real participants that have passion for the story, and a sequence of scenes that are at the same time controlled and unpredictable. It offers great surprise as well as moments that are planned.
Before the shoot, Carl had to familiarize himself with the manuscript, going over the scenes he’d be capturing and taking note of the flow of a hunt and how he’d fit in. He knew that he’d have to be alert and ready from sunrise to sunset, both as photographer and member of the hunt. “From photo gear to waders,” he says.
The ability to roll with action while keeping attention to detail is crucial. I relied on my ability to fit in and create trust and a comfortable space to let the subjects reveal themselves.
The challenge of this photo shoot was all about the challenges of the hunt. Carl says there was always the threat of rain, and even more serious, the risk of stepping into draining ditches. His strategy was to remain quiet and vigilant, and to let the hunt dictate his photography rather than the other way around.
From start to finish this project was one of my favorites because it involved outdoor adventure, great people, great landscapes, portraiture, and food photography. And having a project that has a clear start and ending is satisfying.
Carl’s images in Yankee Magazine have received great reaction, and Carl has walked away with a new mantra: “Be aware of what happens on the sides, and keep shooting until your eyes are hairy!” The crew ended the two-day hunt with a feast of sea duck, lobsters, and oysters, all caught during the time of their shoot.
To view more of Carl’s work, visit carltremblay.com.