The outport communities on the southwest coast of Newfoundland are diminishing each year as more and more young people leave behind their homes and heritage to find work. The early 1990s saw the collapse of the cod fishery industry due to centuries of overfishing and poor government management. This decline began the destruction of an institution in Newfoundland that had been the main source of livelihood for over 500 years.
Fish farms and large corporate-owned dragger boats with factories on board – which trawl the deep ocean – now dominate, subjecting the region to a process of irreversible change. As traditional skills are no longer passed down from generation to generation, and populations dwindle, these outport communities are being swallowed up by the modern world; the current generation of traditional fisherman may be the last.
Settled in the 1800s, La Poile, Newfoundland, is home to 93 residents today. Facing an uncertain future, the community has recently seen neighbouring towns Petites and Grand Bruit resettled. A photographer with an enduring interest in the idea of “place,” Campbell tells their stories through still and moving images. Capturing the people and landscape, he creates a valuable document of a fading way of life.
Raised in the Highlands of Scotland, Johan Hallberg-Campbell is a freelance photographer, living and working in Toronto since immigrating to Canada in 2007. He is a Graduate of The Glasgow School of Art, where he received the prestigious Portrait Photographer Award. Hallberg-Campbell has exhibited his work widely in Canada and Scotland. He was one of five artists selected to exhibit their work at the first international Magenta Flash Forward Festival, Canadian Exhibition (Toronto, October 2010), from his series Grand Bruit. He has photographed and curated for publications and institutions such as: The Canadian Red Cross, The Walrus, Canadian Art, The Big Issue, Scots Magazine, News of the World, Pikto, VII Gallery, Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, Toronto Magazine, The Grid and Toronto Tourism. His documentary work focuses on capturing the visual manifestation of the latent concept of “place”. Exploring what it means to belong to a community and have traditions rooted in heritage, and alternatively what happens when one’s “place” is altered, removed, distorted and shifted.