It’s the last weekend in February, the clouds are heavy with rain and there is a chill in the air. All signs that it must be time for the annual FishersPoets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon. This year, the regular photographer was unable to attend the event due to a family emergency. He put out a call for volunteers to photograph the event in his absence. I was one of those who responded and offered to help.
This year they celebrated their 23rd Gathering. Men and women from the fishing industry and their spouses read their poetry, told a tale or two, or sang a song. It is an opportunity to learn about their way of life and the beauty and challenges of making a living off the sea. These talented individuals have unique perspectives and stories to share through different mediums. Some seemed to be at ease in the spotlight sharing their story and others maybe not totally as comfortable. But every one of them was spectacular and left the audience appreciating their stories and loudly applauding.
On Friday and Saturday night, I spent a couple of hours each evening at two of the locations taking photos. The two spots of my focus were the Liberty and Ten-Fifteen theaters. They were dark venues with spotlights on the presenters. This was a little bit a challenge for me not knowing the group and trying to get photos without interrupting their stories or blocking the audience’s view. The lighting in these venues presented an interesting challenge as well (no flash and stage lighting). I was able to get a few photos to share with the main photographer and am sharing a couple with you.
This event has multiple venues and runs Friday through mid-day on Sunday. Friday was busy but not as heavily attended as Saturday. Both nights had incredible talent on display and many if not all of them performed a couple of times throughout the weekend.
The readings were held at several pubs and theaters throughout downtown Astoria and all within easy walking distance to each other. It is a lively bunch and you can see what a close community it is. And if you aren’t in the fishing community, you may not get all the jokes, but you feel welcome just the same.
If you haven’t attended this annual event, I highly recommend it. A weekend in Astoria is always a good idea!