A whale is brought aboard the Jan Bjorn, one of the Lofoten fishing community’s remaining whale boats.
The fishing community on the Lofoten islands of northwestern Norway is slowly diminishing, as their way of life is dying out. A traditional economy based on small-scale, sustainable whaling, and fishing from family-owned boats, is no longer viable. Whaling—which the islanders practice legally under an international dispensation, as an historically and culturally important industry—is a physically demanding and at times dangerous occupation. Costs are high and financial returns low, as there is no export demand for whale meat, and many Norwegians consider it Depression-era or eco-unfriendly food. Other fishing activity is being taken over by larger companies using trawlers, rather than small, family-owned boats. The younger generation is opting for safer, salaried work, away from the islands, often in the oil industry or tourism.
Marcus Bleasdale is a documentary photographer who uses his work to influence policy makers around the world. His work on human rights and conflict has been shown at the US Senate, The US House of Representatives, The United Nations and the Houses of Parliament in the UK. Marcus' work also appears in the New Yorker, The New York Times, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Telegraph Magazine, Stern, Le Monde, TIME Magazine, Newsweek and National Geographic.