Buoys Traps & Warp

BTW, Buoys, Traps and Warp, and a boat, are the basic essentials of lobster fishing. In the State of Maine, lobstering is a 300 to 400 million dollar business and provides a livelihood for many who live in coastal villages and on the few inhabited islands. Lobster fisherman, their boats, wharfs, and gear have been subjects for artists and photographers for over a century. Romantic and colorful themes surround the idea of making a living from the sea--in fog and gales--although most lobstermen would not agree.

The buoy, marking the location of the trap, floats on the water and is connected to the trap with a warp or rope. The color of the buoy uniquely identifies the owner of a lobster trap. In the old days the buoys were made of wood, and sometimes other floatable materials. Today its plastic, Styrofoam.

Before the 1970's, lobster traps were made of wood and had a semicircle shape with wood strips (lath) connecting the ends. Now the lobster traps are made of steel mesh coated with a colorful plastic. The steel doesn't get waterlogged and heavy so are easier to haul.

Historically, warp (rope) was organic hemp or cotton rag. Overtime, natural decay processes set in and they lost strength resulting in lost traps. Modern warp is made from a polymer, often nylon, which can be colored and interwoven with other colored polymer strands adding visual interest via color, pattern and texture.

The old semicircular wooden traps are long gone, but they too can be found in "seafood" eateries along coastal areas. Rope or warp doesn't seem to have the same nostalgic attraction as buoys or traps, but it has an occasional decorative use. This portfolio of photographs reveals the color pallet of the lobsterman's gear--the buoy, the trap and the war--along with the captivating shapes, and textures.

These photographs are just a selection from the Buoys Traps & Warp book. If you click on this link you can buy a book of Buoys Traps & Warp photographs.