About a Boat

About a Boat


Man gathering measurements from a shop plan                Doug Lowery getting the measurements in the construction effort of Frame # 3

I am always in search of a project. I was asked by Bob Porter at le Hatchery in Easton, Maryland to call a man about a wood boat with few other details. Bob is aware of both my serious and quirky work. To him this was the mix that would provide a certain sensitivity to the documentation process. This effort challenges my serious photography prowess of weaving the local cultural into a celebration of craft and livelihood. Aside from shooting events and portraits my work is not journalistic. I aim at fine art and attain editorial content. I have been criticized by hard core realists for my approach and content and have often responded that ,“I have never been accused of being a photojournalist.” Thus, I carry an amount of  uncertainty with this invitation.

After some phone tag with the man about a wood boat, I introduced myself as a Photographer and it took us a minute or two to determine the complex web of connections that brought us together. That was my first contact with  Doug Lowery of Tilghman Island, Maryland, who was starting to build a Chesapeake Bay Work Boat, often called a Deadrise. He told me it could/would  be finished for work or for pleasure. What flashed through my mind when he said that was a sign from the movie Roger and Me, ‘Rabbits for Pets of Food’.

The collection of C-Clamps seems large now but when planking begins and at least one clamp per frame is being used as fasteners are being applied very few will be left on the bar.

My journey began. I drove out to the Island to Doug’s who showed me the White Oak and Yellow Pine lumber, enough for the 40′ boat; he was starting the construction. Doug’s Father and Grandfather plied the boat building trade on Tilghman and taught him the craft. They day we met in person he began to work and I started documenting.

The Planer is used to make both surfaces of the wood parallel. This is one of the Knee from Frame 4. The planer is outside to accommodate lengths of wood that would be cumbersome inside the shop.

Doug and I hit it off immediately. We exchanged showing each other some of our work. He spoke of his intent to complete a wooden boat and I explained how I would work around his work capturing images of him as a master boat builder. Both Doug and I pursue our art while working with great technical prowess, attention to detail and an eye for aesthetic outcome.

Doug trims the second knee for Frame 4. with the medium Band Saw.

What follows is the construction of a boat, functional and fully capable supporting a full time Waterman in Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter; even though the eventual finished effort may be a yacht. For my part, educated in fine art photography, I am ever grateful to my fellow Photojournalist classmates with their oftentimes pointed critiques of my work. The tribute to them is how they developed journalistic images with high quality artistic attention to line, shape, color, space and composition. I now step up to emulate their calling with excitement and resolve.

Frame 4 is complete. When Frames #3, #2, and #1 are complete they will be affixed to the keel.

Our First Step is to complete Frame # 4. He did the work!


We share in Fort Birthday

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