Behold the buoy.

An object so common yet deserving of a closer look. A buoy doesn’t just mark the location of a fisherman’s trap beneath the surface. Its peeling paint, dents, and scars also mark the effects of time, tide, and toil. Such wear and tear mirror the rough hands and weathered faces of the fishermen who have made the buoy an essential part of their trade for generations. Emblazoned with unique color schemes and permit numbers, buoys are also non-representational portraits of their owners and their own kind of abstract art, especially when seen up close in this series.

Captivated by their seaworn beauty, I photographed buoys while wandering commercial fishing hubs in Northern California, including Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, Spud Point Marina in Bodega Bay, and Point Arena Pier. The joy I felt in discovering these Styrofoam treasures reminded me of the more figurative meaning of buoy—to cheer or lift someone's spirits.