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christina.leebrowning christina.leebrowning

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Christina Maraziotis-Lee Ezell  Christina Maraziotis - Photojournalism Lee Browning Ezell - Fine Art Gear: Leica S Typ 007 medium format Linhof Technorama 617 III S large format

http://www.leeandchristina.com/

Once we felt confident enough to hold on with only one hand, we took out our cameras and started documenting the fishermen as they worked the nets. It was probably one of the biggest multitasking challenges we’ve ever had. The boat was filling up with water from the waves slamming against it — we all were totally soaked, and we were getting such a sunburn on our lily white skin that whenever salt water would touch our skin it would sting. Soon enough, we felt seasick and light-headed. The fishermen would stop from time to time to throw the lobster nets into the water. They had a green rope attached to the stick which they would steer the boat with, or at least that was my impression — so one of them took my hand and placed it on the rope. I wasn’t quite sure what they expected of me to do. They tried to show us the way they fish and the way they handle the rough sea; they wanted us to be part of this and we tried to do our best to not disappoint them. We were talking with sign language — we were laughing — we didn’t understand each other directly, but with shared adversity we felt like we were already friends. .
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After much struggle against the current, we were finally a great distance from the shore — it felt like we were in the heart of the Indian ocean, in the middle of nowhere. The boat was shaking and waves would slam so hard against it, making it react severely and causing us to slide in all different directions. We were trying so hard to hold on, while watching the young fishermen walk so easily, without a hint of any problem balancing themselves. One was standing on the boat just holding on to a wooden stick, giving directions to the others. There were enormous rocks jutting out of the sea, with the strong waves that would push us alarmingly close to them, yet the fishermen would always manage to bring us back in the relative “safety zone”. This clearly wasn’t their first time on this trip. We would go faster and the water would splash on our faces and in our eyes — it was the most salty sea I’ve ever tasted or felt — the salt was burning on our skin, and the sun as well. .
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They invited us to come with them for lobster fishing in the deep Indian Ocean waters, where whales and sharks like to roam. They had just patched a hole in their boat, they weren’t speaking English at all, they were young, and they were very serious about their fishing. Rightfully so, as this is their livelihood — not a drunken hobby. I asked Lee if he thought we would come back alive, literally, and he said, “You know, I’m not sure…but this trip would be a great opportunity for journalistic pictures — don’t you think?” Of course I thought the same thing, and I was looking at their faces; trying to read their expressions. They would look at us and smile, sometimes laugh, but I never got the impression that they were playing tricks on us. They seemed truthful and genuine. I trusted them and asked myself, what is life if you don’t take risks? Sometimes you just need to listen to your instinct and then follow through — and so we did. .
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