Jangadas in Joao Pessoa This photo depicts a - j


Jangadas in Joao Pessoa This photo depicts a - j
Jangadas in Joao Pessoa
This photo depicts a classic scene from
Brazil’s North-East in the 1970s showing
a Jangada approaching the sandy shores
of João Pessoa following a busy days
fishing. The Jangada is a very simple but
highly efficient boat dating back to the
ancient Greeks and rumoured to have
been the vessel used by Ulysses in ‘The
Odyssey’. The Jangada’s construction
depends on the correct use of materials
such as fluctuation woods (like the
Brazilian balsa, and other rare species),
artisan tissues and ropes. The traditional
Jangada doesn't have any metallic elements like nails; its structure is completely put together with joints and
lashings using ropes made of hand-woven fibres.
The fishermen, mostly several at a time, often stay out overnight in the open ocean, out of sight from the shore.
They have no instruments and navigate by the stars or the sun. In the photo above the men wear white lacquered straw-hats, identifying them as members of a fishing cooperative in João Pessoa. Their catch is carried
in the large basket/bag in the centre of the vessel.
The results of these fishing trips were often poor (photo on the right: Fisherman
with his daily handful catch of fishes), so many of them focused on lobster-fishing
with baits and baskets, higher value products which could be sold on nearby
markets generating better income.
The old fashioned building methods of Jangadas that were still seen in the late
sixties and early seventies are no longer used today, highlighting the uniqueness
of this series of photos. The traditional logs of the handmade Jangada have been
replaced by machine cut wooden planking or even metal sheeting, thereby
retaining the established shape of the Jangada but losing its historic roots.
The Jangada is unique to the North-Eastern part of Brazil from San Salvador da
Bahia to São Luiz due to a law put in place by the Portuguese Conquerors outlawing any movement of sailing
craft in an effort to halt illegal gold trafficking. As a result the Jangada is still today confined to Brazil although
with the introduction of motorboats and with the knowledge and skills required to make traditional Jangada’s
fading Manfried’s photo dramatically captures a mostly extinct piece of history.
Fishermen and the sea was always a theme explored by Manfried. So upon learning of the cooperative in João
Pessoa he was keen to explore and photograph their beaches, villages and markets away from the busy city
and to learn more about where the “jangadeiros” landed with their catch, repaired or dried their heavy sails and
hopefully sold their fish. Their small houses nestled between the sand dunes was often a hive of activity when
the locals from the nearby ports would came to buy their fish there, freshness of course guaranteed.
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