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Michael Loderstedt

Men go fishing, fish all their lives never knowing it is not the fish they are after.   –– Henry David Thoreau

Artist Statement


Using photographs, objects, poems and performance, I revisit my home along the NC coast to investigate the changes this fragile environment has faced in the past 40 years. Over development of the land and overfishing of the waters have left a once verdant maritime ecology now a nearly barren one, displacing the regional culture with vacationers. I’ve worked to tell the story of the dispossessed; the now unemployed fishermen, and those reeling from the increased storm activity of climate change, giving voice to an underclass that were once my neighbors and school friends. 

Throughout this narrative has been infused with an autobiographical voice, my own gradual move to find a place of meaning within artistic practice. An opportunity to use writing to access those moments and histories, and bear witness through photography and making. As an isolated child of an island, I had a great deal of time to be resourceful, to learn ways to build things which continue to support my life’s work. This work is, in part, about what can be learned by fishing, but also about things gained from times when there are no longer fish to catch.

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