Great documentaries are produced by great story tellers, visionaries with a clear message and understanding of the subject. Angling is generally documented through the prize shot, the end result, the final climax, man or woman holding fish, sometimes thrusting the fishes head into the camera for extra dramatic effect, it’s a macho world of size and weight recorded for everyone to give the big thumbs up or ‘like.’ The photographing of anglers and angling in a different light is sorely unrepresentative when it comes to the main angling press and media with very few exceptions. I agree that on occasions a good trophy shot is interesting to view especially in the case of an exceptional capture but there is more to it than that. With technology in both stills and video improving and affordable, there are many inspiring images coming from anglers many of which come from using their smart phone, its portable and always in your pocket. A more recent addition to the anglers kit is the Go Pro style of clip on video camera, they are brilliant but placed in the wrong hands (or head) have now left us with a deluge of wibberly wobbly footage of man struggling to land fish with the winds blasting out any comprehension of what they may be trying to say. In the right hands this technology can be exciting and enhance a sense of freedom that film makers have never before experienced. Two lads that I have followed for a while are Carl And Alex, who started off filming their fishing exploits while still quite young and now have a huge following, including coverage in the main press, but their passion and enthusiasm for fishing is key and a real joy too watch. Even as two youngster they show a real maturity and can put together films with a strong narrative, that engages the viewer throughout.
Capturing the quieter moments in angling, the long periods spent in contemplation, appreciation, and solace is something that as a photographer I want to explore further. Last year I spent four days with Michael a ghillie and custodian of a beat on the River Blackwater, a thoughtful man who loves his river, who spoke with a real passion and knowledge for the salmon that run its course. Yes salmon were caught, trophy shots administered, whiskies sunk but one afternoon I took these shots that highlighted the trip for me. We were all standing on the Lower beat at Killvullen, a wide shallow open stretch of water, the fishing was slow so I took out my camera with a long lens and caught Michael away from us anglers just for a few minutes, spending time lost in his own thoughts.
I consider Carl, Alex and myself all artists who want to share our experiences, we are different, but we both have a place, I hope that more anglers will realise and explore the possibilities beyond the hysterical world of high fives, numbers and wibberly wobbly footage. As someone famous once said and I cannot remember who, music is nothing without the silent spaces between.