Christian Stemper is a famous Austrian photographer, who has studied the life of fishermen of Paros — a profession that is getting lost with time — for five years.
“Wolves of the sea” isn’t the friendliest of nicknames, but the weather-beaten fishermen who ply the blue waters around the Greek island of Paros are unlikely to care, noted CNN, commenting on the work of the Austrian photographer in an extensive article entitled “Wolves of the Sea: The vanishing fishermen of Greece’s Paros island.”
“They’re a special kind of human,” Stemper told CNN, after spending many years documenting their lives. “For them, it’s just the boat and the sea and the fish.”
The American network noted that Stemper began photographing the “wolves” of Paros in 2010, after numerous visits to the island for holidays. At the beginning of his work he focused on their boats, “traditional wooden boats that are barely big enough to hold a single fisherman and his catch, let alone their nets.”
Later, he managed — with difficulty — to persuade them to pose.
The American journalist made reference to the fact that Stemper created black and white portraits, where the wrinkles on the fishermen’s faces are clearly visible which come in contrast with the black background. He has paired the black and white photos with the color images of their boats “as viewed from overhead, floating on an inky sea.”
“After I took pictures in 2012, I held an exhibition in Paros,” Stemper told CNN. “I invited them all and told them I would give each one an extra print I’d made for them. But actually only one came. The families came – the wives and the brothers. The rest of them, they don’t care. For them, the life is the sea and the boat.”
The photographer fell in love with Greece and especially the island of Paros. As he said to American journalist, he is planning on starting a new photographic project on the island, seeking endangered agricultural occupations or other traditional ways to make a living that are threatened to be forgotten as time goes on.
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