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In History’s Wake
The Last Trap Fishermen of Rhode Island
Markham Starr

2015 • 204 pp. 132 photographs, 20 illus. 11 x 9"
Regional Photography / New England History

$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7561-6
$19.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7562-3

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“In 132 stunning black-and-white photographs, the fishermen are portrayed during different aspects of their daily work. Starr’s descriptive captions give us stories of the fishermen, fishing process, construction of the boats, and the hard work on a fishing boat.”Göran R. Buckhorn, Mystic Seaport Magazine

Evocative photographs and first person accounts of contemporary fishing life

For as long as people have lived along Rhode Island’s meandering coast, the ocean has provided them with a ready supply of food. Whether Native American or European transplants, fishermen sought to move beyond capturing individual fish to ensnaring entire schools. Searching for increasingly efficient ways to capture their prey, the trapping technologies that they invented evolved over time, and primitive stake traps gave way to fykes and weirs, much as they had along the entire New England coast. Fishermen from Rhode Island experimented with new designs capable of withstanding the punishing wind and waves, eventually creating a unique floating trap system. Today only four companies still use this ancient but effective technique. Author Markham Starr spent time on the docks, went to sea with the fishermen, and photographed them at work. His striking black-and-white images are accompanied by oral histories, poignantly documenting the industry. This book documents a tradition now hundreds of years old, the spirit and work ethic that drives these fishermen, and the austere beauty of working life on the coast.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“His best photos are about beauty and romance and graphic design, like a shot of the three-man crew of the North Star hauling in nets, isolated but steadfast atop a calm misty sea, their floating lines spreading out around them like a spider web.”—The Providence Phoenix, about the exhibition of these photographs

MARKHAM STARR is a photographer and the author of Barns of Connecticut and End of the Line: Closing the Last Sardine Cannery in America. His photographs have appeared in magazines such as Yankee, Rhode Island Monthly, Lenswor, Vermont Magazine and others, and reside in the collections of many regional historical museums throughout New England. His images are also part of the permanent collection at the Library of Congress.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:28:51 -0500