Shoreline Communities


While fisherfolk are one of the most photographed communities, spending time with them will help you showcase hitherto unknown aspects of their lives. Photograph/Suvitri Gupta

Scout Along the Shore

It doesn’t matter whether you are following a river, lake or the sea. If you scout long enough along the shore, you will find communities that survive largely on the river and the ecology centred around the water body. These usually are fisherfolk, but you can find entire villages and small cottage industries like pottery thriving on the banks of river.

Paying Attention to Day-to-Day Activities

Chores like fishing, washing clothes, repairing nets, cleaning utensils or even making boats can be a part of the daily activities of a shoreline community. Speaking to the villagers can help you find out more about what goes on in an average day for them. For instance, where is the fish taken after it is brought to the shore? Where is the sorting done? Is there a storage area?

The shore of any water body is a wonderful place to spot people experiencing quiet moments. Photograph/Ambarin Afsar

The Lifeline of the Community

The water body plays a huge role in the lives of the people who live on the banks of it. Look for moments that show people interacting with water. It could be as simple as someone sitting by the shore, or someone filling water, if it is a freshwater body.

Communities aren’t just limited to people. Animals, too, make shorelines their home. Photograph/Shirin Gupta

Explore Families and Relationships

Such communities are often very close knit and everybody chips in regardless of whether it is a festive occasion or an unfortunate one. Even the simplest of activities like gathering food, going to the market or even painting houses becomes a community activity. Often, fishing expeditions are undertaken by a group of men who have known each other for years and have plenty of stories to tell.

Look for such stories of support and goodwill and you will be rewarded with portraits of genuine emotions and camaraderie.