Fish Stories: featuring the work of some of the world’s most creative photographers. Currently seeking funding.
Spring 2019--The Nordic Light International Festival of Photography, in cooperation with Mikkel Aaland and Morten Krogvold, presents Fish Stories, featuring the work of some of the world’s most creative photographers, inspired by stories, legends, and myths of fish and fishing around the world. An exhibit, book, and video will be debut at the Nordic Light festival in 2019 in Kristiansund, Norway. Nordic Light is one of Europe’s premier photo festivals held every year on the rugged, west coast of Norway, and site of its own rich fishing tradition that goes back several hundred years.
Fish Stories combines story telling and visual art to highlight contemporary issues such as sustainable aquaculture, climate change, and social equity. In Fish Stories, we see that fish are much more than sport and commerce, or a savory dish garnished with lemon. Because of their connection with water and the mysteriousness of the unknown, fish—and therefore stories surrounding them—convey powerful symbolic and metaphorical meaning. Fish and humans are also directly related (a human embryo looks remarkably like a fish) and in Native American folklore, giant fish appear as spirits and marry humans and teach them water magic. In Chinese mythology the word for fish is yu, a homophone for abundance and affluence. In Norse and ancient European cultures, fish had symbolic meanings of adaptability, transformation, determination, and the flow of life.
Fish Stories will take place over the next year when selected photographers, many of whom are past presenters and exhibitors at Nordic Light, will turn their cameras and creativity on fish and fish stories from the freezing Atlantic, to the tropical Pacific, to the murky waters of the Amazon, to the clear mountain streams in New Zealand and beyond. Here are some examples of possible photographer/story pairing.
• The story of Christ and fish and how all things are possible might be assigned to Joel-Peter Witkin, whose work often recalls religious episodes or classical paintings. (Witkin was a Nordic Light exhibitor in 2009.)
• The Brother’s Grimm story of The Golden Fish and human fraility, might be assigned to Chris Rainier, the Canadian photographer who is renowned for his mysterious black and white photographs of indigenous cultures and isolated landscapes around the world. (Rainier has lectured and exhibited several times at Nordic Light).
• Big Fish Stories Getting Littler, a story of how fish in the sea are literally becoming smaller and smaller, might be assigned to Ragnar Axelsson, the Icelandic photographer known for his black-and-white photographs of vanishing ways of life in Iceland, the Faroes, and Greenland. (Axelsson has exhibited and lectured at Nordic Light in 2014 and 2011).
• I Lost a Good One, a story about the fish that got away and human greed, might be assigned to Greg Gorman, an American portrait photographer of Hollywood celebrities as well as an avid fishing hobbyist. (Gorman is a frequent guest at Nordic Light).
Here are some other stories from the around the world that are being considered as inspiration for Fish Stories:
The Talking Fish
An Armenian folk tale
I Lost a Good One
A fisherman who doesn’t have a story about the big one that got away is not to be trusted.
A Story from India
How one fish transformed two nations
Māui and the Giant Fish
A story of how birds, plants, animals and the people of Hawaii populated the giant fish caught by the young boy Māui.
The Greatest Fish Story Every Told
The story of how fish and Christianity became intertwined.
How the Monkeys Saved the Fish
A traditional Tanzanian folktale of a beneficial relationship between fish and monkeys.
Big Fish Stories Getting Littler
Fish in the sea are getting smaller. Has anyone noticed?
The story goes the gods recognized the koi for its perseverance and determination and turned it into a golden dragon, the image of power and strength.
I am always looking for more fish stories from around the globe so if you have any please pass them on my way via my Contact page. Thanks!