Joe shot a stop frame video of him working on his recent “Nothing left to fish” image. It is interesting to see the build up of equipment required for what seems to be a simple image. He recently wrote the following piece for Printspace about this session :

‘Nothing Left to Fish’ is about the over fishing and depleted fish stocks. It was inspired by watching a documentary about the heavily polluted Dakar river. This told the story of the river gypsies, who traditionally fished the river but were struggling due to a combination of over fishing and heavily polluted water.  One gypsy even commented that “the only thing we catch today are dead fish”.

This photograph was a challenging set build, it being built in a 6ft x 3ft fish tank and created with what I found at low tide on the beach in Southend. I collected mud, sand, gravel and pollution from the beach… generating some odd looks from the locals as I carted it all back to the van.

Back at the studio I set about the build.  Creating a realistic looking river bed was quite challenging, layering and blending the different materials to get a natural look. I then started to add the water, except with the tank half full, disaster struck. The weight of the river bed combined with the water was too much for the base of the tank and a large crack formed with water rushing out. I frantically emptied the water and bed from the tank, soaking the studio floor in the process. Once it was empty I reinforced the based with thick glass and mdf siliconing it all together.  I then built the set again, and thankfully this time the tank held (although I had visions of the side exploding outwards in the back of my mind).

At this stage the water had picked up all the sediment from the bottom and you could only see about 2 inches into the tank, giving a post apocalyptic vision of the river bed. I wanted it murky but not as much as this. I left it a day to settle but after 24 hours I had only gained about 2 inches of visibility. After some research and a trip to the aquatics shop I installed aeration to the tank and loaded it with chemicals to clear the water and voila, 24 hours later the tank was just right with about 2 ft of visibility, yet still murky enough to give it the realistic look I wanted. The set itself needed a few modifications to get the look just right, and it was a lengthy process, taking 5 hours for the water to clear each time an item was moved.  I started on Monday and by Friday the set was finally ready. Now for the hooks… which took a while.