"Hafmeyjur (Mermaids)"

I arrived in Reykjavik in March 2014 to work on a photographic project to portray the presence of women in the fishing industry financed by the EEA Grants through the Norwegian Embassy in Spain promoting Cultural Diversity and Cultural Exchange. After a few weeks of researching and meeting people who introduced me to the specificities of the subject, the first thing I discovered was that in Iceland a fish isn’t only just a fish, it means way more than that. Fishing in the island has more efficient and sustainable policies what means that not everything is about quantity but quality; that fact has opened a new horizon of opportunities for women in this field. In the past few years the maximization of the product has become the key: Fish can mean leather, cream and cosmetics, protein capsules…

Even though the dexterity of a woman’s hands is still essential in the processing plants and keeping together the fishermen’s households, due to the maximisation of the product in Iceland they have also managed to diversify their tasks creating a versatile identity of the role women play in the fisheries reaching more managerial and decision making positions. While men were absent in the sea, these women had to take care of everything that happened inland; this is one of the reasons that justify their independent and charismatic character.
These portraits were mostly taken in Grindavik, Heimaey, Stykkishólmur, Reykjavík and Patreksfjörður. This "mirror study" where observations and comparisons were made with the Galician case (Sereas) has become one chapter in my PhD dissertation.

Project financed by the EEA Grants through the Norwegian Embassy
in Spain promoting Cultural Diversity and Cultural Exchange

© 2014 Mar Cuervo

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