Bronze / 2016 / Nature / Other_N

Like fish out of water

  • Prize
    Gold in Press/Nature/Environmental, Bronze in Nature/Other
  • Photographer
    José Javier Delgado Esteban

Under an ancient law of the United Kingdom, whales like this Sperm Whale are "Royal Fish" and when stranded on any public beach become the personal property of the monarch as part of her royal prerogative. One of Herman Melville's inspirations for his "Moby Dick" was the skeleton exhibited at Burton Constable Hall in East Yorkshire. That whale was washed ashore at Tunstall on the 28th April 1825 and like the one in this series became a tourist attraction, with people travelling to see its body and, in some cases, chopping bits off. While taking these pictures Her Royal Highness The Queen Elizabeth the II was spending her Christmas holidays at Sandringham, only a few miles away. As I stood on the beach in typical English icy Winter temperatures, I could not help but to make a metaphorical connection between "Royal Fish”, Melville and the “otherness” of the whale.