It’s fascinating to follow a photographer’s epic adventures through their photos, not only to get a glimpse of their experiences but also their interpretation through choices in creative elements like color, composition, and mood. A perfect example is the cinematic documentary Icelandic Fishing series of Dean Bradshaw, where he shows us what went down during the 12 hours he spent aboard a fishing trawler in Iceland. If you’re looking for inspiration for documenting your next adventure, this set is certainly worth a look.
“It was about 5:30 am when we boarded the fishing trawler. The slick deck of the boat was barely visible under the dim sodium vapor lamps as we were greeted by handshakes and warm good mornings from the crew members,” the Los Angeles-based photographer and director recalled in his set description. The early morning broke to cloudy scenes aboard the fishing vessel Olafur Bjarnason, which proved to be perfect for the cinematic tones Bradshaw had in mind. By opting for a predominantly blue color scheme, he effectively set the mood throughout the series: a cold and gloomy day in the life of fishermen in Iceland with their colorful fishing wear providing eye-catching contrast to bleak surroundings.
“We’d missed every famously photographed landmark in Iceland on this trip, but the ensuing 12 hours on an Icelandic fishing trawler made it all worthwhile,” Bradshaw also said. Looking at the photos he went home with, he was definitely immersed in the unique experience of spending that much time aboard a fishing trawler. There’s always a chance to revisit Iceland’s famous landmarks, but not everyone gets the chance to experience life with locals the way he did.
On his website, Bradshaw says he’s fascinated by narrative but also seeks inspiration “in the real world where things can be equally, if not more, peculiar.” This most likely explains his choice to do Icelandic Fishing over something more touristy. “More than anything, I enjoy ideas — but realize that they are nothing without equal part execution.”
Icelandic Fishing is full of details and activity that make it a perfect subject for a cinematic approach to documentary photography. Everyone is busy doing something, and that means there are lots of stories to tell. Bradshaw’s color grading choice was simply the final touch to make sure that every photo looks and feels like stills from a movie.