Call for Photos from Seafarers and Dockworkers

As UK-based artists, Delta Arts wish to make contact with people who work with container shipping anywhere in the world. We want your photos of working life on and around container ships. We welcome anything from a phone selfie to skilled photography. We would like to hear from people of any level of seniority and experience.

We know that billions of people around the world rely on maritime containerised trade routes. Common estimates suggest about 90 percent of the non-bulk cargo being transported worldwide is moved via container shipping. We are interested in the human element of this system, often invisible to the public, on whom it depends.

We would love you to show us, and tell us with a comment, the parts of container shipping the public may not think of. For instance, how do you spend your down-time? What are the jobs that can’t be automated? What are the human components of this globalised chain?

Please email your photos and comments, with your name, job, location and ship (if relevant) to: oliver[at]

The photos and comments we receive may be used in a small e-book which we plan to produce as an artwork and distribute for free online. We won’t sell your images or any design using them. We will take your submission as consent for us to use it in the design and to credit your name. If you don’t want your name to be credited just let us know when you send us your image. We look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!


MAP Office, Disputed, 2014

MAP Office, Disputed, 2014

Disputed responds to numerous recent escalations in island disputes around the world. These islands are much more than small, uninhabited rocks lost in the ocean. With the exhaustion of natural resources, territorial waters are becoming a precious extension of land, explaining countries’ often-violent fights to claim them.


Adrian Paci, The Column, 2013


Adrian Paci tells the story of The Column, 2013, a video installation specially created for his exhibition « Lives in Transit » at Jeu de Paume, accompanied by a marble column presented in the Jardin des Tuileries to the right of the entrance. The Column is a reflection about the speed with which supply and demand have to be satisfied in today’s economy. A pretext for a poetic voyage between East and West, Paci’s video shows the transformation undergone by a piece of marble from its extraction from a quarry to the long weeks of transport by sea, during which sculptors make it into a Romanesque column.

See also: ‘Watch a Column Emerge From a Block of Marble During an Ocean Voyage’

Christoph Schwarz, Supercargo, 2010


Christoph Schwarz took the opportunity to come on a container vessel to a residency programme in Shanghai. As a ship steward on the “MS Confidence” – operating in a “semi-automatic routine” – he was the only person on board for the longest parts of the voyage. To overcome isolation and boredom he began to document his trip on video.

Map Office, Hong Kong, Back Home With Baudelaire

MAP Office is a multidisciplinary platform devised by Laurent Gutierrez (1966, Casablanca, Morocco) and Valérie Portefaix (1969, Saint-Étienne, France). This duo of artists/architects has been based in Hong Kong since 1996, working on physical and imaginary territories using varied means of expression including drawing, photography, video, installations, performance, and literary and theoretical texts. Their entire project forms a critique of spatio-temporal anomalies and documents how human beings subvert and appropriate space.

50 Largest Ports – A story map,

Steve Edwards in Radical Philosophy, ‘Socialism and the Sea: Allan Sekula 1951 – 2013’

During the 1990s the sea increasingly bubbled to the surface of his work. From this time he undertook a sustained study of the maritime economy and its representations; he travelled on a cargo vessel across the middle passage and he sailed on the Global Mariner, the agit-ship of the International Transport Workers’ Federation. The two long essays in Fish Story indicate the breadth of this engagement: spanning representation of the sea from Dutch marine painting to minimalism and Hollywood. In the process, he muses on an astonishing range of topics: the transformation of Dutch panoramic depictions linking sea and land; the wandering vessel in Turner and Conrad; the figure of the sailor and the theme of mutiny in modernist film, photography and literature; Hollywood’s dumb fantasies of the sea; the ship as machine; Popeye; and the oceans in the cultural imaginary of left-wing thinkers and military planners. This is typical of his additive imagination, which was shaped by modernist montage; there was always another connection to make and a further reference to add. At times, he found it difficult to halt the dialectical propulsion of his own thought. Moby Dick supplied his paradigm.


Allan Sekula, How Many Billboards? MAK Centre for Art and Architecture

For this exhibition, Sekula deploys an image previously exhibited at Documenta 12. A welder at a construction site holding a lit acetylene torch and crouching over his work takes a moment to look directly at the viewer. The words “The rich destroy the planet” are superimposed in Spanish over the photograph. The lettering, which looks as if it were cut letter by letter from old magazines, is slightly disjunctive in scale but chromatically balanced and ultimately aesthetically appealing. The message, however, is blunt and accusatory, and it functions succinctly for both English and Spanish speakers, since these words appear similar in both languages.

Link includes Allan Sekula interview clip.