Trap Shoot


Taking photographs around the harbor this summer has taught me a few lessons that apply to life as well as lobster traps.

Solving visual problems is fun for me; tackling life’s knottier problems not so much. But really the same techniques apply. This time a lesson came from shooting a mass of lobster traps. I could see color, texture and pattern, but I was overwhelmed by the towers upon towers lined up along the wharf. How to get the shots that conveyed what excited me about the overwhelming piles?

Lesson number one: When overwhelmed, simplify. Lesson number two: When confronted by things you don’t understand, try to find patterns, find the similarities and watch for the differences.

These lobster traps (or pots) are apparently a simple design, but visually complicated. If I was stranded on a desert island and had to reverse engineer a lobster pot, I think it would be safe to say I wouldn’t be dining on lobster.

What first looked like a “Gordian pot” or pile of pots to my untrained eye are carefully ordered, maintained stacks. To start to understand them I photographed them in pairs. Once I established this pattern, the variations in colors and designs that I wanted to capture emerged.

Now if I can only apply these lessons to solving life’s knottier problems…