Exhibit: ISLAND LIFE: Photography of Jay Fleming
The Historic Odessa Foundation is pleased to present a small selection of photographs from Jay Fleming’s collection of work that will fill the pages of his forthcoming second book Island Life.
Jay has spent more than a decade making trips to the Chesapeake Bay’s last two inhabited offshore islands - Smith and Tangier to document the way of life that has been shaped by hundreds of years of isolation, the rhythms of the tides and the harvest of the Chesapeake Bay. Since Jay’s first trip to the islands in 2009, he has seen remarkable changes to the communities and the landscapes which is evident in these photographs. Cemeteries are washing into the water, acres of marshland are disappearing and the populations are in decline. Fleming felt a sense of urgency to document the islands’ iconic working waterfronts, as the very forces that sustain them also threaten to take them away.
Equal parts informative and aesthetically pleasing, Island Life, a visual narrative of the environment and commercial fisheries of the last inhabited offshore islands in the Chesapeake Bay, will be released just in time for this exhibit. Although less than 15 miles of water separate Smith and Tangier from the mainland, centuries of isolation have preserved the unique way of life of these island communities, making them feel worlds apart from the life most of us know.
Jay Fleming is a photographer and writer who documents the complex interactions between humans and their natural environment. Born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Jay grew up with an affinity for the water. He discovered his passion for photography at the age of 13 with a hand-me-down 35mm film camera. Jay turned his attention to photography full time in 2015 after working in the field of fisheries and seafood marketing. Since then, Jay has published two photography books - Working the Water and Island Life. He operates his own vessel while leading water based photography workshops and manages his studio on Kent Island, Maryland.
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