Steve McCurry on the South Coast of Sri Lanka
Steve McCurry captures four fisherman braving the waters in Weligama on the south coast of Sri Lanka. Each man sails through the air, supported only by a slim wooden pole seemingly too brittle to hold an adult’s weight. Yet, the retain their balance, moving as one with the rolling waves of the sea. Three of the fishermen reach into the water in perfect synchronisation, mirroring each other’s body language in a quasi-ritualistic dance.
McCurry recounts coming across this group of fishermen during the early hours of the morning, casting their lines out to catch groups of small fish populating the water. The fishermen sit on the delicate wooden contraptions, anchored on the seabed in order to not spook the tiny fish below them. Perceiving a dynamic photograph, McCurry waded waist-deep into the sea, spending an hour and a half photographing the dexterous men. The photographer recalls the astonishing agility of the fishermen, catching their prey with graceful ease.
On capturing such a compelling image, McCurry admits that he repeatedly returned to the scene over several days, photographing in the morning, afternoon, and evening. In order to achieve an impressive image such as ‘Fishermen, Weligama’ (1995), McCurry was determined to work hard and uncover the perfect moment of time.