Johan Hallberg-Campbell was born in the Highlands of Scotland in 1978 and has been living and working in Canada since 2006. He is a Graduate of ‘The Glasgow School of Art’, (BA/hons) where he received the prestigious Portrait Photographer Award. Johan’s work focuses mainly on capturing the visual manifestation of the latest concept of “Place.” He constantly works towards exposing the notion of ownership in a community by examining what happens when one’s own “place” is altered, distorted and shifted from the original. His ultimate goal is to photograph these new environments without prejudice, subsequently creating images that are honest representations of what Johan sees.
Mummers have been a tradition in Newfoundland, Canada, since the beginning of the seventeenth century. Mummer comes from the old French ‘momer’ which means to wear a mask. Fishermen would disguise themselves with old clothing and cover their faces and go from house to house in their community during the twelve nights of Christmas. When the householder responds to the mummers’ tapping on the door, the visitors using disguised voices ask, “Any mummers ‘lowed in?” Once granted entrance, music is played and rum is drunk, the Mummers move from house to house during the 12 days leading up to Christmas. If they are welcomed in, they usually entertain their hosts with humorous antics and the musical instruments they carry, very often a fiddle. Hosts offer rum and serve cake or other sweets. A great guessing game ensues as the hosts try to guess the identities of the mummers. When correctly identified, the revellers remove their masks, but if not identified, they keep them on.
This work is part of Johan’s ongoing book length project ‘Coastal’. Coastal communities had lived off the sea for centuries. They are diminishing year after year as more and more young people leave their home and heritage to find work. The fishing industry is not what it once was: the communities have seen the erosion and the end of their culture as large fishing draggers and fish factories continue to dominate. Coastal and island communities dependent on the ocean and traditional fishing are being swallowed up by the modern world.
Johan has exhibited his work widely in Canada and Scotland. He was one of five artists selected to show their work at the first international Magenta Flash Forward Festival, (Canadian Exhibit) from his series “Grand Bruit”. He has since been selected a 2012 Flash Forward competition winner for emerging photographers for the work ‘Coastal’, which was also exhibited as a ‘Contact Photography Festival Feature Show’ at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre. Currently Johan’s work can be seen on billboards at the waterfront in Toronto as the group outdoor show (Uncharted Waters) commissioned by the Toronto Port Authority.
He has photographed, been published and curated for publications and institutions such as: Canadian Red Cross, The Walrus, Canadian Art, The Big Issue, Scots Magazine, Pikto, VII Gallery, Report on Business, Globe and Mail, CTV, The Grid, Toronto Star, Toronto Magazine, Toronto Tourism, The Harbourfront Centre and House of Anansi. Johan has worked alongside fellow photographers having curated over 40 gallery shows since 2008 and now continues with his own book length project ‘Coastal’.
For more information about Johan and to view his full body of work visit his website.