UNDER 60 TONS

by Reave Dennison

A red tapestry.

On show: 24 November 2023 – 20 May 2024

A beautiful series by photographer Reave Dennison. Working exclusively in black and white film, Reave finds most success photographing at night and prints and develops his own work. Capturing an industry seldom discussed in the art world, the series is based on Reave’s own experience working on tug boats. With shifts generally running two weeks on, two weeks off, Reave started documenting the extreme conditions — weather, seasickness, solitude — of this forgotten world.

A note from the photographer

Under 60 Tons stems from a place of long-standing curiosity; it is an attempt to understand and document the triumphs of humans over nature and to shine a light on an essential clockwork of the tow boating industry that has faded into the background.

This project has entirely been shot on 35mm black and white film. Processed and printed in the darkroom, the ways of the old or the classic photographer. I believe the tow boating industry is a window into the past. The industry does not change as fast as the modern world does on land. Boats outlive captains and crew, sail for decades and some barges outlive the boats that tow them. I felt pairing black and white 35mm film and silver gelatine printing processes with the tow boating industry gives the viewer a deeper sense of timelessness. Techniques have changed in both tow boating and film photography over the years, but in the general concepts remain unaltered.

I encourage the viewer to contemplate these photographs while placed in the shoes of the working-class sailor who navigates this coast, to gain a feeling of what life is like as a crew member on a tugboat, in a place unlike anywhere in the world.”

– Reave Dennison