I am spending some time in Sri Lanka, in the southern coastal town of Galle. This morning I walked around the small-ish fish market. Incidentally, very much being the source of amusement for my 'antique camera', a rolleiflex. Amazing how they can get you welcomed into any community.
What struck me was the nonchalance with which the fishermen and salesmen treated what I, in my limited inexperience, would consider sizeable catches. A 50lb yellowfin isn't exactly a monster but it is certainly a decent fish. I know people who would consider this catch big news - there would be photographs, probably uploaded to Facebook. Only a quick look around the site will reveal hunting pages with trophy catches.
There's a real disconnect between hunting and eating in the western world. Often little care is given as to how the food reaches the plate. On remaking the connection people may go one of a few ways; horror, vegetarianism, justification or simply the decision to ignore.
What is inaccurately seen as an art form (hunting in general) in the UK is skilled labour here in Galle. My recent project Game refers to these skills but attempts to humanise them, show them as the labour they really are.
A trophy in a photograph to one UK person is just another fish to a Sri Lankan. I am yet to see a Sri Lankan hold up a fish next to him and pose with a grin. The taking of the photograph doesn't capture the event, it crystallises the notion that we don't care for the fish, the meat or the environment we took it from, but we care for the bragging rights. It elevates the hunt to an abstract art form - consequence is irrelevant, the physical fish is irrelevant, success is for success' sake. Document is all.
Galle is a beautiful place though, and hopefully I can make something of this train of thought in photographic endeavour. Sadly, not many photographs yet - need to be developed (and taken).