Thursday, May 28, 2009

Captain Erik Bender

I received a phone call Tuesday that I wasn’t home to answer personally. The message was from Victoria Bender, she said hoped she reached the right photographer; that it concerned some photographs I might have made some years back.
I’d only read her name once, maybe twice back in July of ’03, but I knew who she was. I had photographed her son, Erik, the captain of a lobster boat the Victoria Ann.
Erik lost his life on June 24, 2003 when he was caught in a line of lobster pots thrown off the back of the open boat. Two days later John Davi, a retired lobsterman and John Davi Jr., his son, found Erik’s body.
It was grey and rainy on July 3, the day of Erik’s wake. I’ve never been to a wake with so many people. It was very emotional for me. I’d only met Erik on two occasions, once when we went out to empty lobster pots for the day, an again when I delivered a handful of prints I’d made. He was a soft-spoken, friendly guy with an infectious smile. It was obvious that his gentleness touched many people; it had touched me.
After all these years, Mrs. Bender came across the business card I gave to Erik. She wanted to see any of the photos from that day.
The photos I made on the Victoria Ann that day are part of the Men who work the bay, a body of work that I’ve tried to get published. It’s the visual story of men who choose a very different life when they choose to work on the water. Some of the images were scanned onto CD. I haven’t found a publisher that thought it had anything more than just local interest. Not enough for them to commit to.
Today’s post comes from that day aboard the Victoria Ann; this is Captain Erik Bender.

No comments: