Weekly Photo Challenge – Community

“A community is like a ship. Everyone should be prepared to take the helm.”

Henrik Ibsen



This week we have been challenged to illustrate the concept of “community”.  In response, I’ve chosen to highlight one of the more interesting communities here in the lowcountry, the shrimpers.  The warm waters surrounding Charleston make it an ideal environment for catching sweet, delicious shrimp and the result is a community of hearty, determined shrimpers who brave the elements to bring back their annual crop.

Theirs is not an easy life. Work begins long before the sun and runs deep into the night, often overnight.  Results are inconsistent, depending on so many variables.  Even when the catch is a good one, rising costs and low-priced foreign competition contribute to very thin margins.  Shrimpers are restricted to certain areas and specific times of year, and are of course impacted by the tremendous fluctuations in shrimp population.



“A community with neither poverty nor riches always has the noblest principles.”


Challenges not-withstanding, the shrimpers whose livelihoods are so precarious could not have been more gracious as I wandered around their workspace with my camera equipment!  Clearly they thought I was a bit crazy as I shot things that to them could not have been more mundane, but which for me were wonderful examples of color and texture, and a life completely foreign to me.



“In every community there is work to be done; in every heart, the power to do it.” 

Marianne Williamson

It seems to me, at least during their season (typically May through November), that the work never ends. When they aren’t out dragging their nets, they’re back at the dock cleaning, repairing and outfitting their trawlers for the next time.  Then, of course, they need to sell and deliver their catch. Their numbers are dwindling as fewer and fewer of them are able to make a living – often ending generations of working the waters here in our area.



“The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual.”

William James

As you might expect, birds often follow the trawlers as they work, hoping to steal either the catch or the bait – their grace and speed are amazing as they swoop and swirl behind the boats in a veritable aerial ballet.  Once the boats return to the docks, the birds take up residence anywhere they can find a spot to observe the action, hoping for a spill or a toss.


Watch and Weight

“Communication leads to community.”

Rollo May

When not on the water or working their boats, the shrimpers can often be found in the packing house, where catches are weighed, counted and packed in ice.  My home is not too far from Cherry Point Dock, where I shot these photographs.  The local shrimp, tuna and redfish are incredibly fresh and are available for purchase directly; my husband and I have taken advantage of it many times.  The delicious seafood also finds its way onto the menus of some of the best restaurants in town.



“Until our country is free and happy and peaceful as part of the community of man, we cannot rest.”

Oliver Tambo

I’ll close with a shot of a shrimper that I captured one morning just before sunrise here on Kiawah’s beach.  I vowed never again to complain about waking early for photography when I saw the trawler which had arrived long before I had and would surely be there long after I left.  Here’s to the working communities everywhere who make life so much easier for the rest of us.



“An enlightened person raises the level of consciousness of the entire community.”

Phyllis Theroux

To see the communities featured by some other bloggers, click here.

93 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Community

  1. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #176 – One Image, One Story | Travels and Trifles

  2. Beautiful series of shots Tina… There is something peaceful about a seaside city that makes me want to just sit down and look out (or in this case look at your photos). The photos along with your words are a perfect blend.

  3. Hi Tina, Great post. These photos really convey the subject and with exceptional clarity and color. Nets didn’t load here in Aussie land but I’m sure it’s beautiful. Is “On Track” an HDR image? Jumps off the page. Nice shot that departs from a normal view. And your detail shots are great.

    • Hi Jane – and thanks! I think On Track was indeed HDR. Bummer about Nets – I reloaded it, you might see it if you try again. Another shrimp boat sunk this week, very sad 😦 Hope you’re enjoying your romp on the coast!

  4. What a grand post! Excellent collection of photos, just to my liking – so beautiful, Tina.
    And the opening quote by Ibsen is of course a big door opener with me! 🙂 I don’t know what I like more, your writing or your photography, together it’s perfect.
    Happy Holidays to you and yours, Tina!
    Best wishes, Dina

  5. Love all these images. Fishing is another one of my passions. You have approached this theme very well. Love the old TV antenna on the boat. Those are some serious circle hooks. Somebody is going after Tuna and Swordfish.

    • Thanks Eduardo! You’re right, I wouldn’t have wanted to be on the wrong end of those hooks – they meant business! Our waters are quite popular for deep sea fishing as well as shrimping.

  6. Tina, you captured such interesting details here while telling us a bit about the life of these hardworking people. Nothing like a little reality rub of how hard some people have to work for a living to appreciate our own lives….

  7. OMG….another lesson in local life I have learned….”lights on” is just an amazing capture….a real WOW……as usual INCREDIBLE stuff……

  8. Great post! Whenever I feel like to complain my job I think about the people who had to work heard in hot and/or weather… Thank you so much for the important message, Tina!

  9. Tina, fishing/shrimping is a lot like farming in the difficulties and joys it presents. My grandparents on my dad’s side were farmers and so I saw it not first-hand really, since we were young and only got to do mostly fun things, but enough to realize what the life was like. I really enjoyed your lovely photos and your story (as usual.)


    • Thanks Janet – yes I think the two have a great deal in common. Hard life, precarious conditions, limited returns, hearty stock! The term “salt of the earth” seems to fit, don’t you think?!

  10. I love being able to rely on you to write an excellent post about community. I have enjoyed hearing about these shrimpers and your photos are a delight, I particularly like your composition of Hooked and the Secured Lines (nets not showing for me?) . I am so glad that I discovered your blog.
    Jude xx

    • Oh Jude, you’re making me blush 🙂 I’m so happy you’re enjoying the blog. BTW, not sure what happened on “nets up” but if you go back in you should see it. I also had to log in twice to get that one 😦 Technology-not always our friend!

  11. Tina! Fantastic! It’s a great idea and it’s nice to see what you photograph close to home. The first shot is excellent – so much there – and the hooks, just perfectly done. I love these old coastal traditions. And good for you for highlighting the effort it takes.

    • Thanks BB! I love visiting the docks, there’s always something interesting going on! Best is when a big load of fish comes in and all the excitement mounts! It really is a hard life but they seem to thrive on it. Thanks for your lovely comment!

  12. Beautiful photos Tina – you never fail to show us the beauty of our world! I do love images of fishing areas, the ropes, the boats and the gulls, all fundamental to our continuing existence. Thank you.

    • Yes, it’s really so picturesque. We’re in the midst of a major battle to stop them from allowing huge cruise boats to dock here, which everyone worries will change the character of the city for the worse 😦 Appreciate your visit and comment!

  13. Thanks for stopping by my new blog, it’s been fun stumbling around trying to figure it all out. Your site, photos, and quotes are Beautiful! I look forward to checking back…your shrimper observations gave me chills…ten years ago at this time of year I began work on a commercial lobster fishing boat on Long Island Sound…I only did it for a year…your documentation here is wonderful, thanks.

  14. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge / B4 Retouch: Community (Pharao) | What's (in) the picture?

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