Banffshire Coast News

North Sea Fishing exhibition at the Arbuthnot Museum, Peterhead


Press release


North Sea Fishing exhibition at the Arbuthnot Museum, Peterhead


23 February – 28 March 2017 

In Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the Arbuthnot Museum in Peterhead is delighted to be hosting a striking exhibition of black and white images shot aboard the seine net fishing boats, Mairhead and Argosy, in the North Sea during the 1990s. These images, by Scottish documentary photographer Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, capture the reality of the life at sea for the fishermen of Scotland’s North East fishing communities – the cramped conditions, the monotony, and the gruelling work in harsh conditions.

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert talks about how his photographs came about:

The North Sea – “a confused sea” as it was once described to me and, as one fishing trawler skipper told me, late at night, only the instrument panel lighting the bridge room, “the North Sea, she’s a cruel mistress”.

I think my first experience on the North Sea was on a fishing boat, on an overnight assignment photographing fishing trawlers for a paper. There was a fisherman’s protest, lots of trawlers all together, protesting latest EU rules and regulations, net sizes and quotas. I got sent out to photograph. It was a night of adventure: watch dawn rise, shoot the other boats, back to harbour, home by lunchtime. The skipper that night, Ronnie, was a decent chap. I asked him how long he usually goes out for at a time, “10 days”, was the reply. “Can I come next time?” I asked. He smiled, he laughed, he replied, “if you think you can handle it, you can come, but there’s no going back. If you’re sea sick you’ll be sea sick for 10 days”. “Count me in”.

The results of this expedition are captured in these striking images which serve as an important record of a period and style of fishing which is already passing into history.

“For many these images capture an industry that was synonymous with daily life in the coastal areas of Scotland and vital in their economic wellbeing; whilst for others it speaks of a time that seems relegated to the past, of another era. This work carries all the hallmarks of good documentary photography – a strong narration, objectively conveyed, with a powerful visual impact; the awesome force of the ocean is contrasted with insights into the life of work on the boats. A project worth sharing, which it is guaranteed to do on its year long road trip up the East Coast and to Shetland, to arrive back in the West where it will be seen by yet another new audience, as it will have done on each location on its journey”. (Malcolm Dickson, Director, Street Level Photoworks)

The Arbuthnot Museum is delighted to be hosting this touring exhibition from 23 February until 28 March 2017. North Sea Fishing was previously shown at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther. After the exhibition concludes in Peterhead, it will travel to Montrose, Arbroath, Shetland, Wick and Thurso.

The Arbuthnot Museum, St Peter Street, Peterhead, AB42 1QD (tel: 01779 477778) is open:

Monday 10am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-4pm 

Tuesday 10am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-4pm

Wednesday Closed

Thursday 10am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-4pm

Friday 10am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-4pm

Saturday 10am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-3.30pm

Sunday Closed


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