Great photographers and filmmakers are influenced and take inspiration from other great artists. Award-winning international director Peter Rodger has always been inspired by the iconic work of Sebastiao Salgado’s unflinching images of workers. Recently Peter had the opportunity to follow that inspiration with a 52-minute documentary film for new client, The Ministry of Fishing – Morocco. Peter was asked to document every facet of the fishing industry. From packing, to artisan fishing, to state of the art fishing, to canning, transport, testing, laboratory work, shellfish, pollution control, farming, over-fishing —you name it — Peter covered it all. He wanted to shoot workers’ portraits to reflect the workplace — to encapsulate their souls in their environment.
Here color was used to further the reality of that environment, not to bend reality, but to make it even more vibrant and all encompassing. This was filmmaking not for the feint of heart. The challenge was to do motion and stills where many times accommodations did not exist. The whole job was shot on 5D’s and a drone with underwater shots on a GoPro 5. “It’s always very hard doing motion and stills at the same time– even when shooting the video portion on SLR’s. There is a completely different mindset to motion and stills,” says Peter. He shot over several weeks from the North of Morocco all the way to Dakhla where the Sahara Desert meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Peter and crew could be out on the ocean for days since they were always at the whim of the fishermen who needed to get a catch before returning to port. They ate what they caught and slept in cramped conditions (even the captain’s cabin was only about 5 feet by 6). There were bouts of seasickness among his crew, but Peter was fortunate in missing out on that episode ( we are sure he must have been a sailor in a past life!). These guys roughed it out, but it was an experience they would never forget or regret. And Peter got to learn a lot about fish!
The faces say it all. There are years of experiences and stories mapped into each visage. They are the salt of the earth, reflecting a harsh beauty of humanity in workplaces with tough and many times dangerous conditions.