In the ancient Greek culture, Hybris came to define the sin of excess, arrogance, and extreme pride, which often led to an overestimation of one’s own capabilities and brought a person to overstep the limits imposed by the immutable laws designed by the gods in an ordered cosmos, thus attracting their revenge.
With my on-going project, I am aiming at focusing on the relationship of dominance between man and the sea, and the downfall man is bringing onto himself by overstepping the natural limits regulating marine life.
Today the world oceans are faced with the most dangerous threat in history: overfishing. Scientists worldwide have issued an unprecedented warning: if industrial fishing fleets keep plundering the oceans at the current rate, the most common seafood species will be fished into extinction by 2048. Despite the staggering evidence of collapsing fish stocks, international fisheries are still plundering the world’s seas as if their bounty was boundless, jeopardising not only the delicate equilibrium of marine life but also putting at stake the future of the world’s ecosystem, and the livelihoods of future generations.
With this project I am attempting a visual metaphor of the anthropological feature (Hybris) at the core of the threat that humanity is posing to the world’s oceans. At the same time I am unfolding a story of our time, about traditional fisheries disappearing alongside the fish.
My photographs refer back to a time when the sea was thriving with life and was still inhabited by plenty of fish. The portraits of artisanal fishermen from Calabria are meant to evoke a bygone time when men used to go out at sea, oblivious to the forthcoming tragedy – the collapse of fish stocks – and unable to question their practices. These men are the descendants of the ancient Greeks who colonised the coastal areas of Southern Italy (Magna Graecia) before Roman rule and bear the signs of such legacy in their features. The images dedicated to their fishing techniques have also a historical relevance as they risk disappearing alongside the fish they were devised to catch.
It is time that we all became aware of the irreversible dangers deriving from overstepping the limits of the natural world.