Nfld. & Labrador

Photographer who went to Muskrat Falls to find work ordered to appear in court instead

Freelance photographer Mike Hynes didn't go to the Muskrat Falls entrance to protest last Saturday. He went in hope of finding work.

'I just thought that my big camera and my big lens would differentiate me'

Freelance Photographer Mike Hynes went to the Muskrat Falls site last weekend hoping it would lead to work. Instead he ended up with an appearance date before a supreme court judge. 1:24

Freelance photographer Mike Hynes didn't go to the Muskrat Falls entrance to protest last Saturday. He went in hope of finding work.

That decision got him a summons to appear before a Supreme Court judge for breaking a court injunction ordering people not to block or enter the Muskrat Falls site.

"I wasn't there inciting anything. I was just there listening to people and using my camera to document what was going on," Hynes told CBC.

Hynes says he decided to go after seeing an ad looking for photojournalists for a local newspaper.

Mike Hynes' photos were picked up by the media, including the Labradorian and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. (Labradorian Website)

"Before I went … I was in talks with the Labradorian to be on staff with them. At the time I still had not signed with them," Hynes said,

"I know there's not many reporters on the ground in Labrador and [I] saw the opportunity to make some money for my photography business and support the truth, and it got me where I am now."

Freelance photographer Mike Hynes receives his court-ordered summons at Supreme Court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Hynes' photos picked up traction online and in the media, including the Labradorian, especially his photographs of 96-year-old Dorothy Michelin, who was also at the gate on Saturday. She was also served earlier this week with an order to appear in court.

This picture of Dorothy Michelin by Mike Hynes gained traction online and in the media. (Mike Hynes)

Hynes wasn't just at the main entrance to the site Saturday. A photograph in the affidavit filed by Gilbert Bennett, a vice-president with Nalcor, lists Hynes as "among the protesters at the entrance to the North Spur" who "prevented vehicle access to the project site."

This affidavit lists Hynes among a group Nalcor Energy claims prevented access to the Muskrat Falls site on Nov. 19. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Hynes was surprised to see his name on the list of people being called to appear. He says he never went within 15 feet of the gate, stayed out of the laneways and out of the way of people in general.

"No one approached me and I was on the outside looking in, being a fly on the wall," Hynes said,

"I just thought that my big camera and my big lens would differentiate me or they don't care about journalists telling the truth and everyone is treated the same."

Mike Hynes took this photograph of drum dancer Destiny Solomon at the Muskrat Falls protest site Nov. 19. (Mike Hynes)

Hynes plans to continue to document the protests and he's made his own media pass to clearly show why he's there.

"Hopefully this does the trick to signify that I'm not there as a protester, I'm just there to document the truth."

About the Author

Jacob Barker

Videojournalist

Jacob Barker is a videojournalist for CBC Windsor.

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