I know very little about fishing, the last time I partook in tricking fish onto a hook, admiring them and then returning them to their watery home, was as a child over twenty years ago. I do remember finding the paraphernalia fascinating, the rods, reels, floats, tubs of maggots and of course these lures. Each one is designed to replicate the movements, colours and habits of an existing prey – injured fish, swimming frogs, surface bound drowning flies – with a complex and bewildering number of options and permutations to suit the individual predatory fish and indeed predatory fisher. Nowadays I’d relate them, visually to traditional West African fetishes or charms, they are, to my mind, equally fascinating and repellent, elegant and barbaric. Like the fetish object, to me, these are objects imbued with power, with an indexical relationship to nature, through abstracted facsimile, with some lures in particularly – given superstitious and legendary status as, for instance “the perfect bass lure” or the “one that landed old red tail”.
These are objects designed to attract, just as the photographic image competes for our attention in ever more dense visual streams, the lure competes for the fish.