AN EXHIBITION of photographs featuring generations of fishing families opens this weekend with all proceeds going to Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society (HFPS).
Generations by Hastings-based photographer John Cole is at Stade Hall from November 2 to 14 and is the continuation of a project that he began in the 1990s.
He said: “In 1992 I came down from London to photograph the Hastings fishermen.”
“What I thought would be a one-off visit turned into a labour of love and I returned to The Stade over the next six months to photograph these remarkable men.
“I fell in love with Hastings then and in 2000 we moved down to Hastings.
“Ever since we’ve lived here, it’s been in the back of my mind to update the work I did almost 10 years ago.
“But as so often happens with creative plans, life has a funny way of getting in the way.”
This time around, after sharing his ideas with Yasmin Ornsby, of Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society, John has focused not just on individuals, but emphasising the generations of fishing families, as fishing in Hastings has always been a family business, with some of the family names dating back many centuries.
He said that they both felt it was especially important that he also photograph the women of the fishing community, who play a vital role in the industry.
“To be honest, this is a work in progress,” John said. “I’ve really only scratched the surface of recording the inter-connected generations of Hastings fishing families.
“I want to continue with the project until I’ve photographed all the different overlapping generations of fishing families. It’s no secret that the fishing industry is in a crisis, especially so in Hastings.
“This financially precarious and sometimes dangerous profession does little to attract a younger generation.
“My hope is that with the Herculean efforts of HFPS, the battle for fair quotas will be won and fishing will again be a profession that attracts a new generation of men and women.”
All proceeds from the sale of photos and postcards will be donated to the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society to help them in their battle to get a fair quota for the Hastings’ fishing fleet.