The Lobsterman’s Commute

Photographer Robert Holland captures Maine lobstermen heading out for the day.

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Lobstermen fishing
Robert Holland

Each dawn the shores of down-East Maine awake to the hollow “pip-pip” of the outboards and the “crump-crump” of the inboards as the lobstermen start making their rounds of the bays, inlets, and off-shore shallows to collect the day’s catch.

It is this misty interregnum between night and day, sleeping and waking, the past and the present — that dismal interval known to newspapermen as the “lobster trick” — that the photographer has caught, with the delicate immobility of a fossil print, at Prospect Harbor, Hancock County, Maine. The time is 5:30 of a midsummer morning, and the lobstermen you see are using their skiffs to ferry out to their larger lobster boats.

Maine water is cold, Maine lobsters — together with those of the neighboring Canadian Maritime Provinces — are the best in the world, and this picture is what a Maine lobsterman, stroking his chin, would call a “cocker.”

—“Lobster Trick,” Face of America, July 16, 1960

This article is featured in the May/June 2017 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives. 

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