Funded! This project was successfully funded on March 31, 2013.

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Images of the rapidly disappearing hand crafted wooden Shrimp Trawlers of the South shared through a book, gallery exhibits and prints

Evanescent Trawlers of the South is a photography study of the disappearing beautiful hand crafted wooden Shrimp Fishing Trawlers of the South through a retrospective view. With each week that passes so does another one of these magnificent working vessels that lined the Southern Harbors of the United States for over 100 years. The finished series will represent the essence of the challenges, hard life and above all the hidden beauty of the last rare and quickly passing wooden vessels that remain in the industry.   

I started my career so many years ago working on small wooden craft in Northern California as a commercial Salmon Fisherman and Sea Urchin Diver, then spent 20 years in the Navy on a number of other vessels traveling to almost every ocean in the world and I still love boats. They have been such a large part of my my life and with this project I am bringing together a series of images to reflect my heartfelt visions and inspirations through the lens of a camera. With five years of crafting my skills photographing small vessels in all kinds of conditions and light, the images you see here are the result of those efforts I am now ready to complete this project.

Morning Lines
Morning Lines

A Rare and Almost Extinct National Treasure 

At its peak in the 1980s, hundreds of Shrimp trawlers operated out of each of the many small fishing ports spread between the Carolinas and Texas, supplying shellfish to wholesalers and grocery stores across the US. Over time however the under-priced and often subsidized foreign shrimp market started driving down prices, this along with rising fuel bills and waterfront property values operating costs continued to rise putting about 90 percent of US Shrimpers out of business. Imported shrimp is almost all pond-raised and now accounts for more than 90 percent of the American market and just in 2011 alone exported $4.3 billion worth of shrimp to the United States. 

Sadly today in many of these ports you will typically see no more than 4 to 8 working trawlers remaining. Many of the magnificent hand crated large wooden hull boats, built right in my hometown of Fernandina Beach, Florida have been abandoned or destroyed, or are in severe disrepair with more disappearing with each passing day. You will no longer find these beautiful wooden boats being built, the quality lumber is just not available and even with the materials and tools there are very few left with the knowledge of how to build the wooden trawler. 
No funds for repair, in the interim a low income rental - Brunswick Georgia
No funds for repair, in the interim a low income rental - Brunswick Georgia
Project Output

Ultimately, I intend to create a body of photographs that capture, preserve and convey the beauty these magnificent Trawlers before they have all disappeared. I started working this project a four years ago shooting as many of the local Trawlers I could find and access in SE Georgia and NE Florida and am now ready to complete it with images from as many of the other ports as possible. These photographs will portray everything from the unique working surroundings of the aging fishing ports to the beautiful details of both color and age. When the body of work is completed, I will showcase the work in several gallery exhibitions as well as a limited edition hard cover and eBook featuring the best photographs from the project. All photographs featured in gallery exhibitions along with the top tier rewards to donors will be will be printed on Canvas and mounted in a professional printing lab.

Fading Timbers
Fading Timbers

Project Coverage Breakdown 

I will be shooting on 3 individual Travel Trips during the southern summer in sweltering heat in my slightly used VW Beetle (270K miles) with no Air Conditioning. The summer heat also brings the magnificent cloud displays from daily thunderstorms that make for beautiful backgrounds, so this is the best time of year to complete this project. 

  • Trip one, Florida’s East Coast, West Coast and the Keys covering 1,900 miles in 6 days
  • Trip two, Florida Panhandle, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana covering 1,800 miles in 5 days
  • Trip three, Georgia and South Carolina covering 700 miles in 4 days

The planned list of cities to be included in the project to date are Pensacola, Apalachicola, Panama City, Fort Walton Beach, St Augustine, Titusville, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Key West, Key Largo, Fort Meyers, Tampa, Gulfport, Mobile, Biloxi, Gulfport, New Orleans, Delcambre,  Darien, Savannah, Hilton Head, Charleston and a many small towns with shrimp boats in between. 

Harbor Pastels
Harbor Pastels

How Your Money Will Be Used

Funding will help me gas, camping and lodging expenses and ensure printing, framing and mounting for exhibitions of the images later in the year in Jacksonville, FL.


This project involves 3 weeks of travelling and shooting (driving over 4,000 miles) and an additional 3 weeks of processing and trip preparations. Travel for the project will start on, or about June 21, 2013 and the projected completion of the project (prints on the walls) is August 25, 2013. Gas and Shelter will make up a large portion of the allocated budget followed by the creation of the Canvas prints for the Exhibition and rewards. As I would have to eat no matter where I am on these days I did not work Food costs into my estimates, transportation costs are for fuel only as I will be travelling in my personal vehicle.  A detailed pricing outline explaining expenses for the travel and project are as follows:

  • $500 - Gas for over 4,400 miles of travel
  • $600 - 15 days of Travel Lodging and Camping
  • $850 - The Making of 24x36 Exhibition Prints, Pledge Gift Prints and Books

My hope is that after reading the description and viewing some of my past work you will be inspired to become a part of this effort!

Isn't this just a way to raise money for your own holiday?

Not at all!  This is both a physically and artistically challenging photographic project that is designed to be shared with and enjoyed by as many people as possible.  

Each trip I will:

  • Spend an average of 4-5 days behind the wheel of a beat VW Beetle with over 260K miles on it, no AC, in the Summer, in the South
  • Work 14 hours each day locating and shooting the images in the Summer, in the South being eaten alive by mosquitoes and swamp gnats
  • 5-10 days processing images after returning home from each trail, 1 day blogging and online posting, Air Conditioning finally!
Putting the pieces together!
Putting the pieces together!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Printing and publishing pose no risks, the vendors I use are the best around. When traveling in older vehicles there is always a risk of mechanical problems, fortunately I know every inch of my car and have just replaced the tires, radiator, water pump, timing belt and oil cooler seals so she should be good for another 100K miles! In the event of a catostrophic mechanical failure, camera meltdown, hurricane or extreme storms that prevent completing a given trip I will return for another visit either later that week or in conjunction with the next trip. I will get these images this summer, the boats are really disappearing!

FAQ

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    A very sincere thank you for your support!

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    Personal thank you email and exclusive updates on how the project is going. These will include production images and updates as to how the project is going and where I am presently shooting. Acknowledged by name on the Thank You page of the blog, final project book and exhibition.

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    6 backers

    One Free Copy of the Projects book as an EBook. Personal thank you email and exclusive updates on how the project is going. These will include production images and updates as to how the project is going and where I am presently shooting. Acknowledged by name on the Thank You page of the blog, final project book and exhibition

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    One Original 8x12" wet-lab print. Print may be chosen from my current work, or work produced from the project. One Free Copy of the Projects book as an EBook. Personal thank you email and exclusive updates on how the project is going. These will include production images and updates as to how the project is going and where I am presently shooting. Acknowledged by name on the Thank You page of the blog, final project book and exhibition.

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    One Original 8x12" and one 5x7” wet-lab print. Prints may be chosen from my current work, or work produced from the project. One Free Copy of the Projects book as an EBook. Personal thank you email and exclusive updates on how the project is going. These will include production images and updates as to how the project is going and where I am presently shooting. Acknowledged by name on the Thank You page of the blog, final project book and exhibition.

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    4 backers

    One original 12x18" and one 5x7” wet-lab print. Prints may be chosen from my current work, or work produced from the project. One Free Copy of the Projects book as an EBook. Personal thank you email and exclusive updates on how the project is going. These will include production images and updates as to how the project is going and where I am presently shooting. Acknowledged by name on the Thank You page of the blog, final project book and exhibition

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    7 backers

    One original 16x24" and one 5x7” wet-lab print. Prints may be chosen from my current work, or work produced from the project. One Free Copy of the Projects book as an EBook. Personal thank you email and exclusive updates on how the project is going. These will include production images and updates as to how the project is going and where I am presently shooting. Acknowledged by name on the Thank You page of the blog, final project book and exhibition.

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    One original 12x18" Gallery Wrapped ready to hang Canvas Print and one original 12x18" wet-lab print. Prints may be chosen from my current work, or work produced from the project. One Free Copy of the Projects book as an EBook. Personal thank you email and exclusive updates on how the project is going. These will include production images and updates as to how the project is going and where I am presently shooting. Acknowledged by name on the Thank You page of the blog, final project book and exhibition.

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    One original 16x24" and one original 20x24" Gallery Wrapped ready to hang Canvas Print and two original 8x12" wet-lab prints. Prints may be chosen from my current work, or work produced from the project Personal thank you email and exclusive updates on how the project is going. These will include production images and updates as to how the project is going and where I am presently shooting. Acknowledged by name on the Thank You page of the blog, final project book and exhibition.

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    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    One original 20x24" and one original 24x36" Gallery Wrapped ready to hang Canvas Print and two original 12x18" wet-lab prints. Limited edition professionally printed 8x10 signed hardcover book featuring the top photographs from the project. Personal thank you email and exclusive updates on how the project is going. These will include production images and updates as to how the project is going and where I am presently shooting. Acknowledged by name on the Thank You page of the blog, final project book and exhibition.

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Funding period

- (30 days)