Once, a simple Murmansk fisherman Roman Fedortsov began posting on social networks photos of fish caught in the trawl of the ship where he works, and became a real star on Twitter and Instagram. Today, almost 140 thousand people read his tweets, and about 300 thousand people look at his photos. Under the posts there are often more comments in English than in Russian. As it turns out, it’s all about perspective.
Lenta.ru talked to Roman about the difference between romance and work, income from social networks, sharks, grenadiers, malakosts and the fear of ordinary spiders. Lenta.ru:
We are glad that you took the time to get in touch with us. It looks like it’s not that easy. (Our communication takes place by e-mail and intermittently, because most of the time Roman is at sea.)
Fedortsov: Yes, at the end of the voyage there was a lot of work, the fish were caught with “pants”, and they worked high in the north, there was no Internet.
Were you born in the North? Did you immediately decide that you would work on a fishing boat or did you think about leaving for Moscow or abroad?
I was born in Murmansk. I think that subconsciously the choice of profession was influenced by the fact that our family is connected with the sea. My grandfather was a foreman on fishing boats, and my father was a senior mate. At the time when it was necessary to choose a profession, there were two main higher educational institutions in Murmansk: a sailor and a pedagogical institute. By my mindset, I am not a humanist, so after graduating from school I entered the technological faculty at the Murmansk State Academy of the Fishing Fleet. So then the sailor was called.
Were you ready for such popularity?
For popularity, thanks to the local news agency SeverPost. They made an article about my “fantastic beasts”, which was picked up by a lot of large and well-known media around the world. There was a shock, I will not hide it. I just didn’t think that in this age of National Geographic channels and other educational programs, people could be surprised by a photo of a halibut or grenadier. Even if your life is not connected with the sea, or you live far from it. The right angle played the role, under which I shot some representatives of the depths. To do this, you do 20-50 frames, you come up with a plot. And the fact that I am an ordinary sailor, and not an explorer of the depths, played a role. Where does the Internet come from in the sea to make posts?
Now all ships have internet. Through satellites. Weak, of course, but enough for messengers. Sometimes you send a photo for 5-10 minutes.
At some point, did you start translating posts into English?
Due to numerous requests from foreign readers, it was necessary to duplicate the captions to the photographs in English. Although I am not very strong in it, therefore, in difficult situations, my wife helps me. The foreign audience is very large. This is cool!
Somehow pumped your SMM skill, communication with the Internet audience?
Didn’t download anything. I just post photos, sometimes I answer questions, sometimes I ask myself.
Are social media profitable? How big, if not a secret?
There is no profit. A lot of people think I’m making a lot of money here. This is wrong. A couple of times I sold photographs to magazines and TV programs. And that’s it! Everyone wants free.
Or stupidly steal. So you can say it’s just a hobby.
After all, fake pages have appeared that steal content from you. How do you deal with them?
As far as I know, there are at least three accounts on Instagram that impersonate me. I wrote to the Instagram support service – they do not see the “corpus delicti”. I sent them both the originals and my data, but to no avail. Spat, tired.
About this, I really liked the Twitter support service. There was one fake account there – it was deleted literally in a day.
About sharks, bites, gloating colleagues and the future
In the caption to one of the photos, where you have something marine and arachnid in your palm, you wrote that you are conquering your fear of spiders. It is very difficult to imagine that a person who picks up such marine reptiles can be afraid of something at all.
I’m really afraid of spiders. Even those that are harmless. But he found a common language with sea spiders.
You sometimes hold such monsters in your hands. Never bitten? Is it not dangerous at all?
They bit me a couple of times, got irritated a couple of times, and pricked me with a poisonous thorn a couple of times. The hand bulged. But alive. In the northern seas, you only need to be afraid of bites. When he worked off the coast of Africa – there you have to be careful with the poison in the spikes and on the mucus of the fish. In general, where do you feel safer – in the sea or on land?
Quieter, of course, at home, with family. And the sea, the sea is work. Same job as everyone else.
Another photo that I don’t even know how to describe. Roman, what is it?! Looks like… I don’t know… plumbus from Rick and Morty. Have you seen this cartoon?
The photo shows just anemones that have attached themselves to the shell of a sea snail. The main thing is the angle! I didn’t watch the cartoon, but I often heard about it in the comments to my photos.
And what do you mainly watch on the ship and how does it happen? How else do you pass your time off work?
On the flight, we look at what we take with us. Everyone has hard drives and flash drives. Also on the ship there is a grid, NAS, that is, a server for storing data at the file level. We throw everything there so that everyone can watch. And the time after the shift flies very quickly. I washed, ate, and then – if you want to sleep, if you want a series of serials, and then sleep. If the fishing situation is good, sleep immediately after the watch.
Do not feel sorry for the big fish that come across in the net, sharks, moonfish?
It is always a pity for fish or mammals that are caught in the trawl and which are not processed. But this so-called random catch is an integral part of trawl fishing.
What do you think about the future? Have you ever wanted to become a consultant or a scientist? You already have a solid background, I think. You saw something that not every ichthyologist saw with his own eyes.
In fact, all the fish I have photographed are known and common. The exception is the frilled shark and black malakost. The first is very rare and is said to have lived in the era of dinosaurs, the second lives very deep.
At the university, of course, we studied ichthyology, but, to be honest, the knowledge is very superficial. Frankly, I would be very interested in photographing different representatives of the depths.