Geez Photowalk #25 (Koud Senn at Le Carbet, Martinique)

Every Thursdays, I drop a video on youtube where I’m sharing the street photography experience one shot at a time!

We are going through a few photowalks in Martinique, a French Caribbean island where I’m from. In this last episode of that serie in Martinique, we are on the northwestern side of the island. Le Carbet is one of the last place where fishermen still practice the traditional seine fishing technique or “koud senn”. I’ve been willing to capture this for a while and finally made it happen.

I’ve been willing to capture a koud senn for a while now but never managed to get the opportunity.

The Carbet is now one of the only place on the island where they still practice this traditional technique everyday.

After waking up at 4am, picking up my uncle and driving for a hour, we managed to be on the beach at 5:30am. Leonard, seen above, gave us some precious directions towards the side of the beach where the koud senn was happening that day.

Took us a minute to get there, we had to cross a small river and walk a bit but then it was there, it was finally happening and I was so ready to capture it all.

We managed to get there on time, and the area covered by the net was still wide enough to allow time for capturing some nice scenes.

Fishermen alongside the locals were pulling on the large net while a fisherman further away on the seashore was insuring the net coverage of the largest area possible.

The prize for the locals helping the fishermen is free fish for the day so this a community effort bringing an instant reward!

Once the net is fully pulled on the beach, it is time to grab the fish and see what is the catch of the day.

In this case, there’s wasn’t a lot of fish but enough to sustain everybody who was involved and also enough for me to catch a few photographs that I might definitely consider as keepers.

An amazing encounter was with Robert aka Tiny TB from East London. His mother is from Martinique but he has been raised in Hackney, in Homerton to be specific, where both my kids were born.
What are the odds for real?

We had a good chat and it was fun to find a link to were I live now while capturing a very traditional scene at home early in the morning!

You can see Robert on quite a few photographs, being the youngest of all the people pulling on the net, he had to put in the work. And my favourite photograph of the day is the one when he’s manoeuvring a boat after the koud senn.

Something else I really enjoyed was the pelicans tagging along the koud senn to catch some fish.

They are used to the fishermen and the locals and are not afraid at all. Fishermen gives them a few fish and it is also a common practice to give them what remains after cleaning the fish if it’s done on the beach.

I had a lot of fun taking photographs of the pelicans, I cannot deny!

And another shot that I enjoyed taking was a pelican from behind while it is looking at the camera with the bay of St Pierre in the background.

Seeing the pelicans interacting with the fishermen was pure joy too, things I used to take for granted are now waking my inner child again and the camera allows me to be under cover somehow. Grown up taking photographs while the inner child is having a lot of fun.

Once the fish was gathered, the net had to be properly folded and tidied up.

I had a chat with many people, had to calm down one guy’s spirit because he considered that I did not asked for permission to shoot but I managed to explain that after greeting them I started to shoot directly due to my excitement and also the fact that I didn’t know how long left we had before it ended.

People were comprehensive once I explained what I was doing and why I was doing it.

I have to send a shoot out to my uncle as well, I brought him along because he is a landscape photographer and I knew he would love to take part of something like this.

He couldn’t stop saying thank you on the way back when he was awake hehe!

He is from Cape Verde and married one of my aunties, he was telling me how similar the islands were in so many ways.

Following the koud senn, I walked a bit into the town to pick up the car and took my uncle to a beautiful view point of the bay of St Pierre with the Mount Pelee volcano.

St Pierre has a rich history due to the Volcano eruption that happened in 1902, check out my comment in the youtube video form more details (see video at the end of this post).

Overall, I was delighted with this session at Le Carbet and will cherish some of those photographs for sure.

This was the last photowalk based in Martinique for this small series at home and we are back in London for the next episodes of my Geez photowalks, so stay tuned and see you soon.

You can watch the full (edited) video on my youtube channel and as usual, give it a play. Like and subscribe to show some love!

Until next time,