Girl Meets Lobster
In this project I photograph each girl holding a lobster. It began in 2006 when I marveled at my daughters examining these strange creatures and asked to photograph them. In 2015, I expanded the project. The girl’s response to holding this animal informs the viewer about their personality, and how they approach the unexpected and handle new experiences and fears. Over multiple years, the photographs become metaphors of girls growing up, and examines time, identity and femininity.
There is a tension to holding any animal, especially a live lobster with its moving legs and tail that flaps unexpectedly. Yet the girls with crustaceans featured in these portraits stand their ground with strength and determination. The photographs were taken in a small fishing community on the Bay of Fundy in Eastern Canada, where many of the girls live and where we see them and the lobsters in their natural habitat.
The girls were photographed summer after summer. Ancient and venerable, the lobsters remain unchanged in the portraits as the girls transform over the years into young women. Who will they become? The town serves as a backdrop to the portraits and it too is changing. Fishermen once sold their catches locally, but today their lobsters are shipped halfway around the world and the community must balance skyrocketing global demand against the increasing threats of ecological change and overfishing.
The pose in these portraits—girl holding lobster—calls out the recent trend of “big catch” images on social media and dating apps of the digital age, in which men brandish their trophies. As the series builds and layers over multiple years, the portraits reveal an intimate coming-of-age story: learning to cope with strange, thorny and unpredictable things, discovering how to hold on to the things that matter, and finding one’s voice.
The juxtaposition of young girl and prehistoric animal is playful, enigmatic and mythical - beauty meets beast, but on her own terms.