Glyn Satterley

Bill Abernethy, pearl fisher (1990 (printed 2008))

About this artwork

Fresh-water mussels are on the brink of extinction because of over fishing. Due to changes in the law in 1998 it is now illegal to kill or disturb them. Legendary fisherman, Bill Abernethy was of the last generation to legally collect the pearls which form inside fresh-water mussels. This photograph shows him sitting on the river bank (possibly the River Spey near Tulcan). He is holding his tool for loosening the mussels, which live buried in sand at the bottom of fast-flowing rivers. Whilst lying on his stomach in a small boat or walking the river in waders, Abernethy would use the unusual bucket-like object shown here beside his right leg to look for the mussels underwater.

Glyn Satterley

Glyn Satterley

Glyn Satterley was born in Sevenoaks, Kent in 1947. He gained a degree in Fine Art from Ravensbourne College in 1975. Satterley spent two years making photographs for the book Life in Caithness and Sutherland, published in 1982, when he moved up to Scotland permanently. He then began a new project on documenting life on Highland sporting estates. He has worked as a freelance photojournalist for many European and American newspapers and magazines. Most recently he has provided the photographic material for the Scottish Golf Book, The Scottish Fishing Book, and The Scottish Whisky Book.