HAKAPIK is the result of four years of work of the Madelinot photographer. Over the course of the 84 images which compose this photo narrative, we encounter a sensitive and striking way of looking at a subject that is no less sensitive and striking.
A seasoned photojournalist, Menge offers us a portrait of the human activity of hunting, taking interest in the everyday life of hunting communities on the Magdalen Islands, in Newfoundland, and in Nunavut. Broaching the topic without any taboos, Menge shows us little-known aspects of that life — from hunting scenes to processing plants, to the life aboard a ship — with an unfailing concern for truth and emotion.
As a complement to this luxurious book of compelling black-and-white images crafted with extreme care, the art lover will enjoy an introduction by the photographer and an interview with him by an art historian specializing in photography, Serge Allaire.
[…] Sensitive to a controversial subject, with its mix of cultural, economic, political, and aesthetic issues, I worked in 2012–2015 on a series of photographs dealing with the seal hunt, on the Magdalen Islands, in Newfoundland, and in Nunavut.
My project aims to document and to reflect on the very nature of a traditional activity rooted in the history of maritime communities, of northern Canada in particular.
I had to join a team of hunters to carry out this project—and I first had to convince them. So I underwent training at Fisheries and Oceans Canada to obtain a seal-hunting license. I had to become a hunter myself because no boat would take a nonfunctional passenger on board. Thus, over the course of four years, I accompanied hunting parties on the ice in more than twenty expeditions.
I photographed this series in black and white. By ignoring color, I’m attempting to neutralize the sensationalism created by the view of red blood on white snow. I focus instead on the representation of the gesture and of the symbolism of the ritual, in order to emphasize the nobility of an activity that is deeply inscribed in a tradition. […] Y.M