Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Quintessential Fishing Shot

A long time ago, maybe as far back as the time of the cave paintings at Lascaux, an artist wrestled with how to best compose a shot of that moment when the fisherman first sees the fish on his line reveal itself with a mighty leap from the impenetrable depths.

This is what that long-forgotten artist came up with: the "camera" is right there at water level, at the very instant when the fish bursts forth with a violent splash, thrashing with all its might to shake the offending hook. The thrilled fisherman is always small in the distance. He is a bit player to the life-and-death struggle of the fish.

Countless years and thousands upon thousands of variations on a theme later, no artist has ever surpassed that particular composition. The moment you see it you know you've seen it before. It is the quintessential fishing shot.

Here are just three more examples of that shot for you to enjoy. They may all be illustrated in different styles, but the shot remains the same.

Don't dismiss these illustrations just because you've "seen it all before". Looking at the full size versions in my Fishing Flickr set is a rewarding experience!


  1. Hi Leif, good perspective drawings, very nice classics illustrations about fishing :)


  2. Leif, I love the drawing and I was drawn (excuse the pun) to the old telephone advert "Go first by long distance" Regards Karen

  3. Hi Leif,
    my friends are "flying fishermans"! They love this old Stuff!
    And me too....

  4. pablo, karen & frank; thank you all for your comments! I was worried that people would be bored by my fishing theme this week - but you've assuaged my fears. ;-)

  5. Two of these three appear to show the fish prior to being hooked. Only the third one has been caught when the "shutter snaps." All very interesting!

  6. Good observation, jeremiah - I wondered if anyone would catch me sneaking in these variations on the theme... though I think they are close enough to still qualify for the general context of the shot I'm talking about. :-)

  7. It's very clear by this week's theme: that you're fishing vacation was not long enough! Thanks!