Every year on the coast of Newfoundland, the arrival of the annual Capelin scull signals the practice of a community ritual that is as old as the occupation of these shores. From out of the deep waters of the bays of the North Atlantic come multitudes of tiny fish to spawn on the beaches and to replenish their numbers in the great cycle of natural life. With them come the sea birds while beneath the waters, the cod, whales and other species come to feast on this bountiful gift of the ocean. For hundreds of years, Newfoundlanders have waited in suspense for this massive bestowal of nature. The communities of the coasts would come to the beaches just as the tiny fish were swarming in from the sea. The air would be charged with excitement as everyone issued forth from their houses to greet these silvery harbingers of their fishing fortunes.
Today, this surviving ritual may well be the last remnant of a shared community experience with the ocean that sustained Newfoundlanders as a people. The ethic of shared work and shared plenty was lived through time and time again as the annual capelin arrival brought communities together to stand upon their beaches. It is hard to think of another natural event in Newfoundland that so freely experiences and nurtures the spiritual health of a community. As our modern world moves us further and further away from the cycles of nature that give us life it is important to take a breath and understand the significance of an annual event that brings us in touch with the forces that helped shape our cultural identity.
The great gift of the 'visiting fishes', those who come to us driven by the force of their own nature, is a sacred one. By understanding the sacred nature of this relationship, we may be able to preserve it from the demands of the secular economic realities that threaten to destroy it. Maybe then, nature can be viewed, not just as resource to exploit, but as a continuum that includes us, and with us, our responsibility for it and our own survival. "Middle Cove" is a group of photos that chronicles this ancient celebration. Taken with a small point and shoot camera on Middle Cove beach when the Capelin were spawning, This series celebrates the human joy this natural event inspires.
In 2007 "Middle Cove" was exhibited as a public installation. A free-standing, clothes-line type structure was made of recycled and organic materials to hang the mounted photos. It was placed on Middle Cove beach while the Capelin were rolling as well as in Bannerman Park and on George Street in St. John's, Newfoundland. It was exhibited at The Middle Cove, Outer Cove, Logy Bay Museum and is part of their permanent collection. Part of this series was also exhibited in a group show as projections at Musée de l'Élysée in Lausanne, Switzerland