‘Work in progress’ is a series of abstract photographs that explore the skin-like hulls of wooden boats. Exposing the life span of historical yachts that are sometimes 100 years or older, the photographs realise the texture and layers of paint on wooden boats which are either being worked on or about to undergo restoration. The scars of the boat’s voyages are apparent in the photographs, showing sometimes, quite violent incisions and cuts, or a boat builders marks and organic and plasticized materials used to allow the vessels to once again take to the open seas.
These photographs also pick up upon materials used by boat builders to enable seaworthiness. In the layers, you can see the use of lead-based paint and in the more recent layers, plastic based paint and antifoul can be sighted. The photographs suggest a possible irony that while these boats have worked and cruised our seas for both commercial and leisurely explorations, they also contribute micro-plastic waste, which has a devastating effect on the ecology of ours oceans.
Emily Harris is a photographer, filmmaker who spends time in boatyards world-wide and equally sails these pieces of living history.
Artists of interest and influence: Aaron Siskind, Mark Rothko, Frank Hallam Day.