Te Ahi Kā - The Fires of Occupation has arrived just in time for Paris Photo by Martin Toft

20 years in the making Te Ahi Kā explore the physical and metaphysical relationship between a river and its ancestors, between Māori and me. Brilliant design by the one and only Ania Nalecka Milach and photo editing and sequencing by Rafal Milach. Check out what's inside here on my new website https://www.martintoft.com/shop/te-ahi-k-the-fires-of-occupation #teahika

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Te Ahi Kã photobook almost done... by Martin Toft

The concept and design of the book is now completed and 5 book-dummies have been made for the purpose of seeking further support for finding a suitable publisher and securing funding toward printing and binding 1000 copies, scheduled for production in the Spring 2018. Here a few page spreads.
Design by Ania Nałęcka-Milach 

Farewell to Gáspe - Jersey's outpost in Canada by Martin Toft

A fitting end to my journey to the Gaspe Peninsula was to visit Vane Le Page who's family home I stayed in on this trip. His great grandfather Thomas Le Page left Jersey with his family for Canada in 1843 to avoid bankruptcy. His eldest son Thomas David Le Page worked as a caulker in the Collas an Co shipbuilding yard in Point St Peter, Malbay. His first wife, Susan Jane Coutanche from Jersey died in childbirth. Four years later Thomas David remarried Mary Ann Le Marquand who sadly also died twelve days after giving birth to Francis Le Page on 28 March 1889, Vane's father. Vane first wife Thelma Leggo also died in childbirth.

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The Plains of Abraham in Quebec by Martin Toft

This is where the decisive battle between the English and French was won by General Wolfe's surprise attack on 13 Sept 1759. This event was the catalyst for Charles Robin & Co to establish a cod-fishing empire in the New World

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Lady McKie's collection at National Archives Canada by Martin Toft

After a few days at the National Archives and Library in Ottawa, reviewing the remarkable collection of Lady Mckie who spend a lifetime fascinated with the Jersey - North Atlantic fisheries, it's time to head out East towards the Gulf of St Lawrence. Among the collection in Canada of close to 3000 photographs, 48 reels of films, texts and other artworks a number of excellent never-seen-before images exists and Mckie's meticulous methodology and cataloguing raises new and interesting questions. In the Society Jersiaise Photo-Archive there is another remarkable set of photographs made by Phyllis Gertrude Ross (Lady McKie) who in the early 1950s visited the island home of Charles Robin, Jersey's premier cod-merchant. Even more remarkable is a fictional biography - The Seaflower Venture - about the life and times of Robin that Phylis Ross wrote based on his own diaries.

In our new project we want to respond creatively to her work, especially using her unpublished manuscript of some 275.000 words as a narrative structure, making new images that explore the relationship between the fictional and non-fictional story about Robin's trading posts in the new British colonies in North America, that he established soon after the French defeat in the Seven Years War and the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1763). On the back of many of her prints and negative sleeves Phyllis Ross would often annotate and make insightful descriptions. I noticed a little sticker in the corner on some images with her name and address and decided to look it up. As it happens she lived her final years on 10 Driveway just at the end of the road where I'm staying. Salut, Dame McKie!

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