Series Documents the Dangerous, Fascinating Work of Commercial Fishermen on the Bering Sea

Series Documents the Dangerous, Fascinating Work of Commercial Fishermen on the Bering Sea

Photographer Corey Arnold’s series ‘Fish-Work: The Bering Sea’ documents the daily lives of commercial fishermen aboard the f/v Rollo during winter crabbing expeditions-considered one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. Arnold’s photographs show the fishermen’s complex relationship to the fierce ocean and deadly storms that surround them, showing the dichotomy of exhaustion and awe; frustration and exhilaration.

Part of his larger ongoing ‘Fish-Work’ series, ‘Fish-Work: The Bering Sea’ began after the economic turmoil of the early 2000s, as Arnold returned to commercial fishing in Alaska. In a statement about the project, Arnold says, “I landed a deckhand job aboard a 43-foot cod jigger, which eventually led to a king crab job in the Bering Sea. I spent seven winter seasons crabbing aboard the f/v Rollo and brought my cameras along to document the experience. Widely considered one of the world’s most dangerous jobs, we endured seas up to forty feet and a seemingly endless succession of sleepless nights, regularly shuffling 800 pound crab pots around the pitching deck in freezing conditions.”

Leaving Dutch Harbor

The Wave

Crab Gate

Another Shitty Day

Opilio Bed

Grumpy! Grumpy! Grumpy!

Gulf Crossing


Sea Kitty's Journey

Icicle Morning

Icy House

Matthew and the Sleeper

Sea Lion Feeding

Opilio Morning

Brian Has Crabs

The Scavengers

Injury #17

Eighteen Degrees and Hauling


Between Strings


Arnold says he found time to shoot “between work and sleep” and kept his two cameras “wrapped in Ziploc bags and duct tape.” While his series fully captures the incredibly dangerous work, as well as the playful moments of respite, Arnold says that many of his best photographs were never made, “as all hands were needed on deck during the fiercest storms.”

‘Fish-Work: The Bering Sea’ was published as a monograph, you can find it here.
You can find more of Corey Arnold’s work, which focuses on “photographing the relationship between people and the sea” on his website.

All images used with permission.
[Via Visual News]

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Karl-Filip Karlsson's picture

this i like! no need to read about the story.. the picture tells the story! :)

Noam Galai's picture

The 2nd to end photo is amazing

Edward Porter's picture

The "sleeping with the fishes" photo is equally hilarious as it is disturbing...

Jr Miller's picture


Bob Bell's picture


James Nedresky's picture

Real men, real work, real (great) pictures!

Jason Keller Hudson's picture

thanks for the share. incredible photography

Davor's picture

Keep Tahoe Blue. That is some awesome shots there!

Timothy Jace's picture

cool dudes working on the boat! great pics!

Omar Salgado's picture

Great work.

Brian Williams's picture

YES!! A Keep Tahoe Blue mug in the last picture! Way to represent!!

Raymond Larose's picture

You know, I watch Deadliest Catch all the time and this series of pictures just blows me away - it seems to reach so much more deep into the soul of these fisherman. Love the work here, absolutely stunning.

TatuSiltanen's picture

This reminds me of Karen Ducey's work from a few years ago.

Adam Barry's picture

Pretty sure the ship in the second last image (Arctic Hunter) sank during the the Deadliest Catch

jniz22's picture


Juan Dias's picture

Justin Vernon's "Volcano Choir" project used Arnold's picture in their last album cover. A very powerful picture in my opinion.
Arnold has, indeed, an amazing work.