I came across this photo essay a couple of years ago and haven’t been able to forget about it (thank you Slate.com!). Yes, it’s that good. No, there are aren’t any shipwrecks–but they lurk in every sentence and image.
A little context: the language of the sea has captivated ‘landlubbers’ for hundreds of year. It continues to do so today. For some, marine weather reports are works of poetry similar to the Hemingwayesque prose of coast pilots and log books. As I see it, the ‘Shipping News,’ broadcast four times a day on BBC Radio 4, sits squarely in the cannon of modern sea literature. It reports and forecasts the weather and sea conditions around the British Isles in 370 words or less. It’s spectacular — worth listening to no matter where you live or what you do. (for more info go here–yes it’s Wikipedia and yes it’s good.)
I don’t know how to post the photo essay in this post, so you’ll have to click here to watch it. Here’s the description:
Intangible and mysterious, familiar yet obscure, the Shipping Forecast is broadcast four times a day on BBC Radio 4. For those at or about to put to sea, the forecast may mean the difference between life or death. Bur for the millions of landlubbing radio listeners the language of the program has entered the public consciousness, creating a landscape of the imagination. Power’s photographs are a response to the clash between the pictures built up in his imagination since childhood and the reality of the places he found.