July editions: Benjamin Hoffman: The Bay
Man and the sea in South Africa
In his book The Bay published by July editionsphotographer Benjamin Hoffman takes us south to the Atlantic Ocean with the fishermen of Cape Town.
“Free man, you will always cherish the sea! wrote Charles Baudelaire. It is true that the sea is always an astonishing territory, full of mysteries, imbued with a form of freedom that we seek both when we abandon ourselves to it, for example in summer, when we go swimming on sunny beaches, or in our dreams, when we think back to our very distant and obscure marine origins, when we think of any enchanted or tragic event that happened in the waves.
With Benjamin Hoffman, in his book The Bay, we enter the daily life of fishermen in Cape Town, the port city of South Africa. You can see in the eyes of these fishermen to what extent the sea is their element, to what extent these men are one with the water and to what extent they abandon themselves to it completely. Benjamin’s book questions very deeply how our insides are connected to the ocean. As we turn the pages, we melt a little more into the salt water, vibrating in front of every wave and every piece of foam.
Some pages are bluish, with precisely this very special atmosphere where the sky sometimes merges with the sea. And then there are also all the sea creatures that these fishermen encounter: seals, large swordfish, sharks… The panoply of animals and fish that live in the deep sea and populate this amazing work, full of beauty, full of pigments. The colors are so beautiful. There is a painter’s palette
The fishermen wear green raincoats for example, a very bright green and Benjamin Hoffman photographs this green which bursts and reveals the very beautiful colors of the ocean, sometimes a little grey, muted.
This whole community of fishermen goes well beyond the simple anecdotal fact and even if each of them has a particular history, the universal dimension is very present and is highlighted by the subject of the sea which takes us exactly as we are these men, driven out to sea to catch fish.
One could say to oneself that one leaves for the sea of photography which sends us in search of the adventures of the men, today more and more rare and thus more and more extraordinary.
By Jean-Baptiste Gauvin
Benjamin Hoffman: The Bay
Size: 18.5 x 23.5cm
104 four-color pages