Photographer Ian Deveau took all of the photos in “The Minnow Series” on Nauset Beach, Cape Cod over about an hour-and-half period on August 31, 2017.
“The last image I took that day was of a dead minnow that had washed ashore in the surf,” he says. “I remember I almost didn’t notice it, as I had been mesmerized by the growing and unridden swell for the past couple of hours.”
I think in a way, we are the minnow.
The minnow sat in a folder on a hard drive, gathering digital dust. A year later, Deveau looked through the set again, and the minnow nearly slipped by again. “I almost didn’t notice it again but something about the minnow image held my attention—the eye of the small fish gazing up through the lens of the camera and the idea that I so easily could have never seen it there. As I began to look closer at the rest of the images from that day, the minnow became an important theme. A theme of fragility, chance, life, death, and time. Looking through these lenses, the photos from a typically cliche summer beach day on the cape began to stand out to me. I think in a way, we are the minnow–small and perhaps unnoticeable in the grand sweep of time, yet have the power to impact those who stop to take a closer look.”
The images, like people passing you on the beach or the smaller details of sea life, were easily overlooked at first, but with time, gained resonance for the photographer. “Looking back I realized that on that day in August I kind of missed the point,” he says. “All I really saw were the waves. Now when I look back, I see the people.”
The resulting study has become something of a meditation on the minnow, with all of the images now echoing and being defined by the photograph of the minnow.
The images will be on display at the Seven House Galley in Brooklyn, with an opening February 28. To create the images in the series Deveau first applied edits to the minnow image in Lightroom. He then copied these edits and applied them to every other image in the series regardless of exposure. All of the images have the exact same edits made to them and no cropping out of camera apart from minor adjustments to horizon lines. Each image is an edition of 19, giclee print on Canon Premium Metallic PhotoGloss paper.