Man and the sea in South Africa
In his book The Bay published by éditions de Juillet, photographer Benjamin Hoffman takes us to the south of the Atlantic Ocean with the fishermen of Cape Town.
” Free man, always you will cherish the sea ! writes Charles Baudelaire. It is true that the sea is always an amazing territory, full of mysteries, imbued with a form of freedom that we seek both in the moments when we abandon ourselves to it, for example in summer, when we go swimming on sunny beaches, or still in our dreams, when we think back to our very distant and obscure marine origins, when we think of any enchanted or tragic event that happened in the waves.
With Benjamin Hoffman, in his book The Bay, we enter the daily life of fishermen in Cape Town, the port city in South Africa. We see in the eyes of these fishermen to what extent the sea is their element, to what extent these men are one with the water and to what extent they abandon themselves to it completely. Benjamin’s book very deeply questions how our insides are connected to the ocean. As we turn each page, we blend in a little more with the salt water, vibrating in front of every wave and every piece of foam.
Some pages are bluish, with precisely this very special atmosphere where the sky sometimes merges with the sea. And then there are also all the sea creatures that these fishermen encounter: seals, large swordfish, sharks… The panoply of animals and fish who live in the deep sea bed and who populate this astonishing book, full of beauty, full of pigments. The colors are so very beautiful. There is a painter’s palette
Fishermen wear green raincoats, for example, a very bright green and Benjamin Hoffman photographs this green which bursts and reveals the very beautiful colors of the ocean, sometimes a little grey, muted.
This whole community of fishermen goes well beyond the simple anecdotal fact and even if each of them has a particular history, the universal dimension is very present and is highlighted by the subject of the sea which takes us exactly as are these men, driven out to sea to fetch fish.
We could say to ourselves that we are leaving for the sea of photography which sends us to find the adventures of men, today more and more rare and therefore more and more extraordinary.
By Jean-Baptiste Gauvin
Benjamin Hoffman : The Bay
éditions de Juillet
Size: 18.5 x 23.5 cm
104 four-color pages