All photos by Matt Porteous. Used with Creative Commons permission.
If you love photography projects that combine travel and documentary photography, we’re sure you’ll find this series by Matt Porteous poignant and wanderlust-inducing. In his personal photo journal, the London-based photographer and filmmaker shared what he discovered when he tagged alongside Ocean Culture Life to find out more about the sustainable fishing practices in Oman. To give context and background to the series, Porteous tells us what makes Oman a place of interest for him and his group. “One of the only countries in the world to keep their fish resources at a constant, the Sultan of Oman banned trawler fishing and dredging 15-20 years ago. No close-shore commercial fishing is allowed, enabling villagers to catch the fresh higher numbers of fish in local waters,” he wrote on the project description. With this interesting fact, he also stressed that fisheries continue to be the country’s natural resource. In fact, their goal is “to create a profitable world-class sector that is ecologically sustainable and a net contributor to Oman’s economy,’ by 2040.
To give us a picture of Oman’s exemplary fishing industry, Porteous put together a combination of the big picture showing the environment, and scenes showing the daily life of the friendly fishermen, who he described as the ones “who bring Oman’s vision of environmentally friendly fishing to life.” The result is an interesting documentary series that looks and feels every bit as immersive as he described in his texts.
I appreciate the stories and anecdotes that go so well with the entire series, but I think what makes this body of work stand out is how it brings the viewer both a sense of place and a feeling of connection with the locals.
Mohammed and his friends know that the real-life Omani experience is entirely different to what people read on paper; the reason that people built Kumzar almost 1000 years ago remains the same reason that people are still there now. There has been little change in their fishing style, and the inhabitants of this beautiful town are so thankful for their lives they create from the sea, both catching food and earning money from their fish.
‘Good money for good life!’
This appreciation of the fishermen has spanned a thousand years, and is mirrored by the Sultan of Oman. In realising the potential of their oceans and sustainably developing technologies, the government can increase production, employment, and the numbers of fish themselves, which can secure enough food for the entire country.
Do check out Matt Porteous’ website and Behance portfolio to see more from this series, as well as the rest of his photography projects.