Boat Scene, Karachi (About 1890)
About this artwork
This photograph captures the industrious fishermen mending their nets and preparing to embark on another fishing trip from Karachi, India. Bremner enjoyed photographing the locals and although this image at first glance appears like a snapshot, it is, on closer inspection, carefully composed. The angle of the river bank is mirrored in the boats, masts and the figures, which are contained in the horizontal band below the horizon line, with just the leaning masts breaking free. The contours of the boats’ hulls draw the eye into the centre of the composition where Bremner has concentrated the detail of the ropes and nets.
Fred Bremner, the son of a professional photographer in Banff, travelled to India in 1882 and worked there for nearly forty years. He moved all the time, covering vast distances to photograph colonial officers and their families as well as members of the native aristocracy. Bremner was fascinated by the Indian caste system, publishing a volume in 1897 titled 'Types of the Indian Army' illustrating the 'various races' enlisted as troops.