Johan Hallberg-Campbell

The outport communities on the south-west coast of Newfoundland are diminishing each year as more and more young people leave their homes and heritage behind 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 fishermen may be the last.

Settled in the 1800s, today La Poile, Newfoundland is home to 93 residents. 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.