Four documentary works in are on display here here. Please read the synopsis at the end of this page.

  • Cormorant Fishermen — They use a method that involves lighting a light to lure sweetfish and catching them with tamed cormorants. The bird has a loop around its neck with enough space to eat smaller fish, but preventing them fro swallowing the bigger ones. This tradition is quickly fading away, trampled by implacable social changes, economical rules and touristic pressure. Joel documented these fishermen in Guangxi Province, China, during several years, starting in 2006.

  • Bosumtwi lake fishermen — In Ashanti, Ghana, Lake Bosumtwi is revered by locals as sacred and tradition dictates that they can only fish in the lake using wooden planks called paduas. This one million-year-old sacred lake was created when a giant meteorite crash landed in what was once a lush rainforest. Joel has been documenting these fishermen since 2015 and won Travel Photographer of The Year in 2016 thanks to it.

  • Butterfly fishermen — The town of Janitzio, which means "where it rains", is located at Lake Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico. The town is known for the butterfly fishermen who are skilled at lowering their butterfly-shaped nets to catch the local cuisine, the "pescado blanco" (white fish). Joel has been documented these fishermen in 2018.

  • Inle lake fishermen — Intha fishermen of Inle Lake, Myanmar, still use an age old technique for catching fish in the shallow water: they use just one leg to balance on the front of the boat and, skilfully, use the other leg to guide their conical nets through the freshwater lake. Joel has been documented these fishermen in 2015.


Photos can be purchased for printing and/or licensing. Please contact for inquires. Check Terms and Conditions. All images © Joel Santos


why not take a look at these videos?

Interview with Joel Santos about the Travel Photographer of the Year Award (2016), including images and video footage from the two winning portfolios - (1) Danakil Depression / Salt Desert and Erta Ale in Ethiopia, (2) Bosumtwi's Sacred Lake Fishermen. Aired on RTP África TV channel.