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Frederico Colarejo captures a disappearing way of life in Portugal

Crab and lobster tanks don’t immediately spring to mind when you think about Portugal. But for photographer Frederico Colarejo, these slowly disappearing structures – built to keep caught crustaceans fresh for restaurants – are a perfect metaphor for the country’s recent economic struggles.

Possessio Maris, his latest work, comprises portraits of abandoned tanks, found along the Portuguese coast in towns, such as Cascais, Peniche and Viana do Castelo.

‘The series is both a lament for a lost way of life and a document portraying the last days of these structures before they completely disappear and become forgotten,’ says Colarejo.

Photography: Frederico Colarejo

‘By depicting the ruined structures within the landscape and having a strong presence of the sea, I wanted to metaphorically talk about not only the history of these sites, but also the history of Portugal – its wealth and prosperity from the past and its political and economical difficulties of present times.’

Many were constructed in the early 20th century, when more people in the flourishing country could indulge in expensive crabs and lobsters. As Portugal’s economy struggled, so did the fishing and hospitality industry, leading to these storage structures closing.

‘I wanted to talk about those bygone days of wealth that have slowly disappeared,’ Colarejo adds, ‘leaving behind vestiges that can tell the story of crab and lobster tanks and at the same time the story of a country that had so much and now seems to be abandoned and damaged as a result of external economical and political powers.’



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