In 1972, Melinda Blauvelt travelled to the small Acadian fishing village of Brantville, New Brunswick, on Canada’s east coast. She lived with a fisherman and his family, ran a day camp and took a series of extraordinary and compassionate portraits of the Acadian community that summer and on three successive visits from 1972 to 1974.
Melinda Blauvelt was in the first women’s class at Yale and then the first woman in Yale’s MFA photography programme where Walker Evans became her mentor. Blauvelt would later teach at Harvard and the University of Virginia, where she established the photography programme. Her photographs are held in major museums in the United States. She now lives in a small village on the Rhode Island coast.
“I bought a used Deardorff 4×5 camera and spent the summer making photographs in Brantville, where I lived with fisherman Ulysse Thibodeau, his wife Jeannette and their three young children. Weekdays were spent with the campers making puppets and performing “Le Corbeau et Le Renard”, playing Capture the Flag and Croquet. Weekends, Ulysse and Jeannette took us fishing for mackerel, to the beach and included us in family dinners, bingo, picnics, and birthday parties. Whenever I set up my Deardorff, the Thibodeaus, their extended family and other Brantville friends were my enthusiastic collaborators.” -Melinda Blauvelt