Photographer who went to Muskrat Falls to find work ordered to appear in court instead
'I just thought that my big camera and my big lens would differentiate me'
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.
"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."
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.
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."
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."
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."