Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Hands of a Carver

This past Spring I went up to Havre de Grace and Aberdeen to shoot a story on duck carvers and the Decoy Museum for Maryland Life magazine. There, I met and photographed Capt Harry Jobes... a master carver and a true original. I found the good Capt in his shop telling stories and cracking jokes with his old friend Charlie. In his hands was a roughhewn piece of wood slowing morphing into the head of some species of waterfowl. On the shelves were mallards, "old squaws" and mergansers in various states of completion.

Called "gunning birds," these decoys are today highly prized American folk art collectibles. Harry has been practicing the art of wooden decoy carving for over 60 years. At an early age he tutored with the "Dean of the Upper Chesapeake Bay decoy makers," R. Madison Mitchell. You can see each man's work in their very own exhibit at the Decoy Museum in Havre de Grace.

I made these images of the man in his Aberdeen workshop. Oh, and that small head he was carving when I first came in? It is now proudly displayed on my desk at home!

A true gentleman that Capt Harry.

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