McArthur’s Store is an ongoing award-winning series of portrait and documentary work made within the dwindling fishing community of Dunbar, a small town on Scotland’s Eastern Seaboard.
February 1, 2015
McArthur’s Store is an ongoing series of work made within the dwindling fishing community of Dunbar, a small town on Scotland’s Eastern Seaboard. For two summers I made wet plate collodion portraits of the fishermen (for they are all men) in McArthur’s Store, a mid-17th century girnel on Cromwell Harbour. Now fully restored, the building is inhabited only by fishermen who rent individual stores for the repair and maintenance of their creels.
I took up residence in the Store beside these working fishermen and they gave no quarter, behaved as if I was not there; they would then gather in the evening, jostle and welcome me to work with them. These men are supported by their community and the Dunbar Harbour Trust, which owns their building, yet are perpetually concerned with increasing fees, demanding safety measures and a dwindling market. Like me, they are self-employed family men and yet they work somehow together as one, almost as a militarised union. There is not one who would not command respect.
Although I was funded by Creative Scotland to make this work over two years, this has now stretched into its fourth year; this support has encouraged me to continue with my documentary work alongside the portraiture. I will spend time telling these stories for Documenting Britain. The images in this first post are on film and are here to give a little context, a flavour of the place, a place of both lightness and darkness.
This work is dedicated to the memory of Noel Wight.