Martin Toft

The Seaflower Venture is a transatlantic research and photographic project exploring the island of Jersey's maritime and mercantile links to Canada during the very profitable cod-trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. The project is centred around cod-merchant Charles Robin who founded the most successful Jersey firm on the Gaspé Coast and the extraordinary photographic archive and unpublished fictional biography of Robin's life based on his own diaries written by Phyllis Ross in the 1950s. Using her manuscript of some 275,000 words as a narrative structure and probing this important history of Jersey's maritime identity through a photographic discourse my interest is in the creative potential for image-making between the fictional and non-fictional story about Robin's trading posts in the new British colonies in North America, which he established in 1766 soon after the French defeat in the Seven Years War and the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1763.)