Photo of the week December 16, 2011by Mark Benjamin on 12/16/11
One thing I always try to keep in mind about landscape photography is that not everything in this world is beautiful. Sure, I have a plenty of pretty colorful images in my galleries, but not all of them. Some of them can be quite stark, dreary, and colorless. One of those times was while I was visiting small fishing town on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
While I was walking around this town I found a small piece of waterfront. It was probably 150 to 200 yards long. The beach was made of nothing but oyster shells, broken beer bottles, and trash. There a handful of oyster boats moored to some half rotten pilings. It was hard to tell which was older, the boats or the pilings that they were tied to. I couldn't help but think of the oyster men that owned and operated these boats. A hard-working bunch of men and women, whose skin has been tattooed by the sun and the wind, hands calloused and hard as rocks, a strong, proud people harvesting the sea for a humble living, performing backbreaking work day in, and day out on the oyster flats, for hardly enough money to pay for the bare necessities of life. I did a little research on this town, and I found that the median income was roughly half that of the rest of the state of Florida.
As I surveyed this scene I noticed a sunken abandoned boat moored to a piling about 15 yards offshore. Judging by the covering of barnacles and the amount of decay this boat had been abandoned for quite some time. I guess the owner of this boat was just going wait until it rotted away completely, or maybe the owner had rotted away completely, or maybe the boat was just abandoned who knows. Oh well.
I guess, what really caught my eye and help me put this composition together was the fact that this boat was sitting off all by itself, for what appeared to be, quite a few summers and winters, in that very same spot, all alone, with nothing but the seabirds to keep it company. This boat had obviously reached the end of its usefulness and was left abandoned, tied to a rotting piling, left on its own to decay until there was nothing left. I suppose one reason why this scene had such an effect on me was it reminded me that a lot of us are in the same boat, excuse the pun, left all on our own tied down by our own immobility, and left to rot because we are no longer of any use anymore to anyone. Another part of this composition that I found interesting was, although the boat was partially submerged resting on the bottom, it was still tied off to the very piling, where it spent his last few moments of usefulness. It is almost as if the piling was its tombstone and the pelicans and seabirds, where the friends and loved ones visiting its final resting place on a dreary Sunday afternoon.