Women at Sea - breaking waves

Nina Varumo

2020 - Ongoing

"Women at sea - Breaking waves" is a photographic project with the aim of describing the life and work of female seafarers, in an attempt to challenge and change the stereotype of who a seafarer is."

How we appear in culture and what it tells us about us plays a role and also has the power to change the world. "Women at Sea" is a story about female seafarers who are out there, but who have not yet been presented to the public. Male sailors are surrounded by myths and excitement and are widely represented in visual art whilst female seafarers are rarely depicted. Through universal topics such as adventure, escape, longing, courage and strength, the seafarer’s story is carried into our consciousness and culture. This is not just a myth, they are both brave and strong - and this also applies to female seafarers. It's time to make their stories visible as they continue a tradition while breaking the norm.

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  • 2n engineer Emmeli is maintaining the machines on the cruise ship were she works.

  • Headwaiter and bar chef Anne-Sophie on her way back to the cruise ship after sorting some errand on land.

  • Anne-Sophie is preparing for the morning shift at the cruise ships. Due to the pandemic and lack of work she is now responsible for all the restaurants, pubs and cafès onboard instead of her regular duties as bar chef.

  • 27 % of all people working in the maritime industry are women, but they are rarely depicted. Here is Beatrice in her cabin, shot from the outside due to the regulations because of the pandemic.

  • Beatrice looking out over the cargo ship while unloading the cement for the construction industry. She studying to become a captain at Kalmar maritime university.

  • Emmelie in the control room, inspecting the tanks to see different levels and pressures. A monitor shows the view from the ship, otherwise she don't see outside the ship much.

  • Emmeli does her guard tour between the main engines and shines with the flashlight to see properly. A large part of the work on board is performed with sight, smell and auditory senses to detect various leaks or abnormal sounds in the machine.

  • Emmelie gathering tools in the workshop.

  • Chief officer Ina is preparing for arrival.

  • Woman by the Sea, also called the Sailor's Wife, is a sculpture by Ivar Johnsson in Gothenburg Harbour. The statue is a reminder of the grieving sailor's wife or mother when their husbands or sons left for sea.

  • Linda, is driving a commute boat in Gothenburg. She works as close to office hours as is possible for being a chief officer so she can still return home to her family every day.

  • Oil and chemical tanker Fure West is transporting cargo around Europe. Here at the Northern Sea

  • Deck Cadet Matilda and the crew are cleaning the tanks on oil tank Fure West before picking up the next cargo.

  • Deck Cadet Matilda is finishing her reports on the bridge. She is studying to become a captain.

  • The cabin is an important place for privacy and recovery since the crew is out at sea for many months in a row.

  • Able seaman Linnes look over the chains that hold the cargo in place on deck.

  • Able seaman Linnea. To be able to access certain areas on the fully loaded cargo deck Linnea gets around with the help of a assembly trolley to move in the low space under the cassettes.

  • Chief officer Ina is assisting the captain on departure.

  • Ina resting in her cabin between shifts, a time to connect with family on land. She works for three weeks in a row and then goes home on a leave for three weeks.

  • Beatrice is adjusting the survival suit before jumping the ship during a basic safety training. The certificate for basic safety has to be renewed every five years.