A new life begins, one that echoes with what his ancestors went through upon leaving Sicily in the mid 19th century, even though this first migration was due to a difficult economic situation in Italy. Neither exodus managed to break the family’s bond with fishing. Five generations of fishermen, today Franck, his father Victor, and his grand-father Joseph remain, and only Franck still works on the boat.
Every day at the harbor, Victor and Joseph await Franck’s arrival from the sea. A family tradition, they used to wait at the lookout point of Port-Vendres for their family fishing boat’s safe arrival. In recent years, Victor convinced the city to place a statue of the Virgin Mary at the lookout to greet incoming boats to the city.
The family’s fishing activity has changed a lot in the last 15 years. Victor and Franck used to fish together on their trawler, where they caught a lot of anchovies and sardines. Nowadays, there are a handful of trawlers and about a dozen fishing boats in the city. The economic and environmental situation has made fishing a more difficult endeavor, but the choice to become a fisherman was an obvious one for Franck. It is his heritage.
The sea is pivotal in the lives of these three men. This project tells the story of the living memory of this family and the strength of their connection, as it is represented by fishing. A symbol of family pride, the relationship towards tradition, and the support toward one another.
This family’s story can be extrapolated to other stories in Port-Vendres, where historically many fishermen’s’ families chose to settle during the war in Algeria. Through war, migration, economic and cultural changes, generations, fishing remains a constant element in this area.
This project sparked my interest due to my own personal experience of migration, from Poland to Canada and later to France. I wanted to tell the story of these ties that bind, because I am sensitive to the topics of family and heritage of identity.
Born in Poland and raised in Canada, Dagmara grew up in a diverse environment, somewhere between Polish, French Canadian, and Anglophone cultures, all within an immigrant household. This opened her up to a new perspective on tradition, language as well as family values.
Long periods of hospitalization and bed rest in her childhood shaped her vision of the world and allowed her to observe her surroundings more carefully. From this was born a pressing need to understand people, to dive into things and to not be afraid of others’ judgment.
From 2003 to 2009, her curiosity for foreign lands led her to study and work in several different places, including eastern Canada, Ecuador, Spain and Switzerland.
Although initially having studied political science and environmental issues, she has been interested in photography since adolescence. In 2011, she completed a photography diploma at Concordia University in Montreal and then in Paris at Ecole Estienne in 2014.
She divides her time between documentary wedding photography and more personal photography projects. Her themes of interest include personal and cultural identity, family ties, migration, as well as the relationship toward others, both emotional and physical. She strives to develop deep connections with people, to break the intimacy barrier with her subjects.
She approaches these themes from a social angle. Her work fits into subjective documentary photography, or as it is also called, creative documentary photography.
Still quite passionate about environmental sustainability, she is also the co-founder of Le cri du zèbre, a project that encourages Parisians to discover eco-friendly and ethical activities in their city.
* The heirs